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2 Palestinians killed in overnight raids in Ramallah and Nablus

June 22, 2014 9:33 A.M. (Updated: June 23, 2014 1:56 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were shot and killed during clashes in Ramallah and Nablus overnight Sunday, as Israeli forces continued a massive search operation across the West Bank for three missing Israeli teenagers.

The killings mark a major upsurge in Israeli violence amid one of the largest deployments since the Second Intifada, with at least five Palestinians killed in the last week and more than 370 arrested.

Ahmad Said Suod Khalid, 27, in al-Ein refugee camp in Nablus and Mahmoud Ismail Atallah Tarifi, 30, in Ramallah were killed as locals protested raids in those areas early Sunday morning.

In al-Ein refugee camp, Israeli soldiers fired four gunshots at Khalid while he was headed to a mosque for dawn prayer.

According to eyewitnesses, the soldiers asked Khalid to go back home, but he refused and insisted on walking to the mosque. At this point, a soldier pointed his rifle at him and shot him several times from point-blank range.

The victim's body was subsequently taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the victim "was approaching them in a threatening manner" at the time he was shot, and that they "called on the suspect to stop and after he failed to comply they fired warning shots in the air."

Israeli soldiers then "fired towards the suspect."

"Initial inquiry suggests that the suspect was mentally unstable," the statement said, adding that "the incident is currently being investigated."

In Ramallah, a young Palestinian man Mahmoud Ismail Atallah was found dead on the roof of a commercial building opposite to another building where Israeli snipers were stationed.

It is believed that a sniper shot Atallah, and he bled for hours before his body was found.

Earlier, Israeli troops invaded several neighborhoods in Ramallah before dawn and broke into several houses and stores.

Young Palestinian men clashed with the soldiers, who fired live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at the demonstrators, injuring more than 10.

After Israeli forces withdrew from Ramallah, however, Palestinian protesters began attacking a local Palestinian Authority police station, in anger at the security forces' coordination with the Israeli forces.

Palestinian security forces responded with force against protesters, although the exact response used is still unclear.

Palestinian president Abbas has supported Israel's campaign to find the missing youth, and many Palestinians have been angered by the continued security coordination of police and other Palestinian forces with raiding Israeli forces.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that the military was still "reviewing" the incident.

Detentions have been reported overnight but numbers and identities of the detainees are yet to be revealed.

The killings come as a massive Israeli arrest operation across the West Bank enters its 10th day.

Israel accuses Hamas of having kidnapped three Israeli teenagers from Gush Etzion settlement near Bethlehem.

Hamas has denied the accusations, labeling them as "stupid."

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the age of Ahmad Said Suod Khalid as 36 based on witness reports. However, Palestinian security sources and a report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights have since put Khalid's age at 27.
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