RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Four Palestinian youths were wounded in clashes early on Monday with Israeli forces who were demolishing the West Bank homes of two assailants’ families, a Palestinian health official said.
One of the four was seriously wounded, Ramallah hospital director Ahmad Bitawi said.
The Israeli military said troops were in the Qalandiya refugee camp demolishing the homes of the families of two Palestinians who stabbed and killed an Israeli near Jerusalem’s Old City in December. During the December attack, the assailants were shot and killed by Israeli guards, and a second Israeli died after apparently being shot mistakenly by police in the confusion.
During Monday’s demolitions, riots erupted and Palestinian demonstrators opened fire on soldiers, the army said. Soldiers tried to disperse the crowd using “riot dispersal means” and then opened fire toward the “main instigators,” the army said in a statement.
The clash came after a few days of increased violence. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman ambushed a family traveling in a car in the southern West Bank, killing an Israeli man and wounding his wife and two teenage children. The day before, a Palestinian teen stabbed a 13-year-old Israeli-American girl to death as she slept in her bedroom in a West Bank settlement.
The attacks prompted Israel to send hundreds of troops to the area and impose a closure on the Hebron district, where many of the recent attacks have originated. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said Israel will reduce the amount of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians each month, saying it would offset money Palestinian officials give to families of attackers.
Over the past nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbings, shootings and attacks using cars against civilians and security forces, killing 34 Israelis and two Americans visiting Israel. During the same period, Israeli troops as well as some armed civilians have killed about 200 Palestinians — most of them said by Israel to be attackers.
Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement, and a glorification of attacks by Palestinians on social media. Palestinians say the violence stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for a state.
This story has been corrected to show that in the December attack, one Israeli was stabbed and killed by the two Palestinians, the other Israeli was apparently mistakenly shot and killed by police.