Israeli troops kill two Palestinian militants in West Bank raid
By Adel Abu Nemeh
JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) -The Israeli army killed two Palestinian militants when a predawn raid on a flashpoint town in the occupied West Bank on Thursday touched off clashes, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.
Islamic Jihad claimed the slain men as members. One was a leader of the faction in Jenin, which, along with the nearby city of Nablus, has seen intensified military operations since a spate of Palestinian street attacks in Israeli cities in March.
Locals said the other man was an off-duty security officer with the Palestinian Authority (PA), which wields limited West Bank self-rule under interim accords with Israel from the 1990s.
The Israeli military said troops came under fire, and shot back, during a Jenin-area raid to arrest suspected militants.
The violence in the West Bank, among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has deepened diplomatic stagnation since the PA’s U.S.-brokered talks with Israel stalled in 2014.
The incoming Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu looks likely to include far-right politicians who oppose Palestinian statehood and want the PA dismantled.
Islamic Jihad, like the large Palestinian faction Hamas, advocates Israel’s destruction.
The Palestinian health ministry said 210 Palestinians have been killed this year, including those who died during a brief conflict in Hamas-ruled Gaza in August. They included militants and civilians.
At the same time, 23 civilians and eight security personnel have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank, according to Israeli military figures, which show 136 Palestinians killed but do not include Gaza casualties.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Clarence Fernandez)