Nablus: Two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in West Bank

Two Palestinian militants have been shot dead by Israeli forces during a raid in the occupied West Bank, as tensions surge in the region.

On Friday morning locals reported hearing heavy gunfire as Israeli troops surrounded a house in Nablus.

The men killed have been named locally as Khayri Shahin, 34, and Hamze Maqbool, 32.

Israel said they wanted gunmen who fired on their forces before they could be detained.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas described the men as “heroes of the resistance” and accused Israel of terrorism.

It is the latest in a series of intense military raids that have taken place in the occupied West Bank over the last year.

It comes amid rapidly escalating violence this week when Israel launched a massive military assault into a refugee camp in Jenin.

At least 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed during the three-day incursion.

It involved Israeli armed drone strikes into the camp and gun battles with Palestinian militants.

This year has seen a growing number of armed attacks by Palestinians targeting Israelis, and Israel has said it will continue military operations to stop Jenin being a “refuge for terrorism”.

After Friday morning’s raid in Nablus, a video emerged of the two men thought to have been recorded earlier this week, in which they claimed affiliation with the Palestinian militant group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and said they would “respond” to the attack on Jenin.

Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shabak said they were suspected of shooting at a police car and a shop in a Jewish settlement near Nablus.

The raid triggered violent confrontations with young Palestinians.

Paramedics from the Palestinian Red Crescent said ambulances were prevented from reaching the scene, adding that one man was seriously wounded with a leg injury.

Meanwhile, the funeral took place of an Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt Shilo Yosef Amir, 22, who was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman on Thursday, close to the Jewish settlement of Kdumim near Nablus.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, which it described as a response to Israel’s attack on Jenin.

The settlement is home to Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bazalel Smotrich.

Hamas said the attack was intended to show the minister it “almost knocked on your door”.

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