Associated Press: Israel kills 4 Palestinians in clashes

At least four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces in separate incidents Thursday, one of whom stabbed a police officer in East Jerusalem, and three others in raids launched by Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank.

The violence comes as Israel’s election body counts final votes in this week’s legislative elections, which are expected to see former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu return to power with a comfortable majority backed by his far-right allies.

Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, a stronghold of militants, killed at least two Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that one of the dead was a local commander, while the Israeli army did not immediately announce the details of the operation.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that a Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces’ fire in the occupied West Bank during a raid in the area. The Israeli police alleged that the man threw a Molotov cocktail at the forces.

In a separate incident also Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed a policeman in the Old City of Jerusalem, prompting Israeli soldiers to open fire on the attacker, killing him, and slightly wounding the policeman, according to an Israeli police statement.

The violence came at a time of political transition in Israel following the legislative elections, where former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to return to power through a coalition government that includes his allies from the far right, including extremist MP Itamar Ben Gvir, who commented on these incidents, saying that Israel will soon take a tougher approach to the attackers.

“It’s time to bring security back to the streets. It’s time to kill any terrorist who carries out an attack!” he wrote on Twitter.

The violence was the latest in a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that has killed more than 130 Palestinians this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since the United Nations began counting the dead in 2005.

An uptick in violence began in the spring after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people, prompting Israel to launch a months-long operation in the West Bank aimed at dismantling militant networks. The raids in recent weeks were met with an increase in attacks against Israelis, killing at least three.

Israel said most of the dead were militants. But young men protesting against the incursions and people who were not involved in the violence were also among the dead.

On Thursday, Israel also announced the removal of checkpoints to and from the city of Nablus. And Israel imposed restrictions on the city weeks ago, to confront a new armed group known as “The Black Den.” The army carried out repeated operations in the city in recent weeks, which resulted in the killing and arrest of senior leaders of the organization.

Late Thursday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a missile at southern Israel, prompting sirens of raids in the area.

The Israeli military said the missile appeared to have been intercepted.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Islamic Jihad has fired rockets in the past in response to the killing of its members.

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