JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli forces killed a 17-year-old Palestinian in the occupied West Bank Thursday, Palestinian officials said, as troops operated in the area a day after an attack killed a military officer.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Odai Salah, 17, was shot in the head, although the exact circumstances behind his death were not immediately clear.
The Israeli military said forces were operating in the hometown of two Palestinian gunmen who killed the Israeli officer in a shootout on Wednesday and were then shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. Troops were preparing the gunmen’s homes for demolition and making arrests in the village of Kufr Dan, near the city of Jenin, a bastion or armed struggle against Israel. Israel says it demolishes the homes of attackers as a way to deter future violence, while critics say the tactic amounts to collective punishment.
Israel has been carrying out nightly arrest raids in West Bank cities, towns and villages since a spate of attacks against Israelis in the spring killed 19 people.
Israeli fire has killed dozens of Palestinians during that time, making it the deadliest year in the occupied territory since 2016.
The Israeli military says the vast majority of those killed were militants or stone-throwers who endangered the soldiers. But several civilians have also been killed during Israel’s monthslong operation, including a veteran journalist and a lawyer who apparently drove unwittingly into a battle zone. Local youths who took to the streets in response to the invasion of their neighborhoods have also been killed.
Israel has rounded up scores of Palestinians, holding many without trial or charge in what’s known as administrative detention. Israel says it uses administrative detention to thwart attacks and to hold dangerous militants without revealing sensitive intelligence. Palestinians and rights groups say the system denies due process, with some detainees held for months or years without seeing the evidence against them.
Israel says the arrest raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and prevent future attacks. The Palestinians say the operations are aimed at maintaining Israel’s 55-year military occupation of territories they want for an independent state.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.