Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian in Counter-Terrorism Raid

Armed Palestinians at the funeral of Kamel Alawneh, 19, in the village of Jaba, north of Jenin, Sunday. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

RAMALLAH (Reuters) – Israeli forces shot dead a wanted Palestinian terror suspect and arrested two dozen in the town Jaba near Jenin on Wednesday, the military said, as tensions simmered ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the region next week.

“I heard Israeli forces shouting at a man, asking him to stop before I heard eight shots fired,” said a Palestinian Jaba resident, who asked not to be identified. The dead man was identified by Palestinian officials as Rafiq Ghannam, 20.

The Israeli military said its forces were conducting counter-terrorism operations across Yehuda and Shomron and had arrested 24 suspects. The IDF has stepped up raids in and around Jenin in recent months after men from the area carried out deadly street attacks in Israel.

The man killed had tried to escape the soldiers when they opened fire, the IDF said, adding that the soldiers provided first aid to him before he died and that the incident was being examined.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said that Israel was “preceding President Biden’s visit by more field executions and escalation of aggression against the Palestinian people.”

Ghannam was the second Palestinian from Jaba killed in recent days. On Sunday the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said 19-year-old Kamel Abdallah Alwaneh died a day after he was shot by Israeli troops. The army said soldiers came under attack “during routine security activity near the town of Jaba” and shot a man suspected of throwing a firebomb. Biden is expected to meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders before he heads to Saudi Arabia on his July 13-16 trip.

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