NABLUS (West Bank): Despite the truce, Israeli security forces on Wednesday killed a Palestinian commander and another fighter in a gunbattle in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the military said, triggering further clashes in which Palestinians said two teens were killed in separate incidents.
Israeli forces surrounded the house of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a senior commander of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militant group long on Israel’s wanted list.
The shootout, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was the deadliest incident in the West Bank since Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad ended three days of fighting in Gaza, the worst in more than a year.
Palestinian officials said at least 44 Palestinians, half of them civilians, were killed during three days of Israeli strikes on Gaza, which ended with an Aug 7 truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad.
16 children among 44 Palestinians killed in conflict prior to truce
Al-Nabulsi was a member of the recently formed “Nablus Brigade”, a Palestinian militant alliance in the city which also includes Islamic Jihad’s militants. Hours after the shootout, tens of thousands attended his funeral and called for revenge.
Al-Nabulsi, barricaded inside, refused to surrender and was killed along with another militant during a gunbattle with Israeli forces, who also used shoulder-fired missiles in the fighting, the Israeli military claimed.
The gunbattle was followed by clashes during which the military said its troops responded with live fire against Palestinians throwing rocks and explosives at soldiers.
Islamic Jihad said a 16-year-old was killed while participating in a confrontation with Israeli troops.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, Palestinian health officials said a 17-year-old succumbed to his wounds after Israel shot him with live fire.
The military said it responded to a “violent riot” in the area and “a hit was identified”. Palestinian health officials confirmed the four deaths and said 40 more people were injured in total. There were no reports of Israeli casualties.
16 children killed
The latest conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants has left 16 children dead. One of them was five-year-old Ala who was the first to be killed in the three days of intense fighting.
“It was a Friday like any other,” said Rasha Qadoom, 27, the mother of Ala, clutching tight the tiny pink rucksack belonging to her five-year-old daughter.
She said Alaa had been dressed in a pink T-shirt to match her pink bag with a pink ribbon tied in her hair.
“She was happy, she wanted to go to the park with her aunt.” But as she went to her aunt on Friday afternoon, Israel launched an intense “pre-emptive” bombardment of militant positions.
Alaa was knocking on the door of her aunt’s home when a missile smashed down from the sky.
Later that day — hours after Alaa was killed — militants began firing barrages of rockets in retaliation. The violence raged until a tenuous truce came into force on Sunday.
The Israeli army claimed it “only strikes military targets” and that Alaa’s father Abdullah, who was wounded in the strike, was a high-ranking member of Islamic Jihad.
“Unfortunately, according to reports received following this strike, his daughter who was in his presence during the strike was hurt,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022