At least six Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military on Tuesday, making it the deadliest day of violence in the occupied West Bank this year, CNN analysis of official Palestinian data showed.
Five were killed in the old city of Nablus during an Israeli raid there, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. A sixth person was killed in Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, by Israeli live fire, the Ministry added, when Palestinian protestors took to the streets in response to the Nablus military operation.
The raid in Nablus also left some 20 people injured, the ministry said.
Israel said it was targeting Lion’s Den, a new militant group which emerged in Nablus this year and has targeted Israeli soldiers, killing at least two.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Tuesday’s killings as a “war crime” while calling on the United States to stop Israeli “aggression” in the West Bank before things “reach a very critical point,” according to his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
Commenting on the Nablus raid, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, “our goal was and remains to inflict severe and lasting damage on terrorism and its agents in Jenin and Nablus and anywhere else where terrorist nests grow.” He added that the head of the Lion’s Den militant group and other militants were assassinated in the raid and that the “terrorist laboratory of Lion’s Den was severely damaged.”
In a joint statement posted on Twitter, the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Security Agency, and Israeli police said a raid was conducted on a hideout in the old city of Nablus that was being used as a headquarters and explosives manufacturing site by operatives of Lion’s Den, adding that the group was responsible for a shooting attack that killed an Israeli soldier, and for attempting to carry out an attack in Tel Aviv that was thwarted by the Israeli police as well as the planting of an explosive device in a gas station.
The Israeli security forces “detonated the explosive manufacturing site” during the raid, the statement said, adding that “dozens of Palestinians burned tires and hurled rocks at the troops. The [Israeli] troops responded with live fire toward the armed suspects who were shooting at them.”
The Palestinian National Forces, an umbrella grouping of political and popular groupings, announced a general strike across cities and villages in the West Bank on Tuesday. The strike will affect essential services such as schools, universities and courts.
This year has been the deadliest in the West Bank for Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers since 2015. Israel claims most killed were clashing violently with soldiers.
It has also been the deadliest year for Israelis and foreigners killed in attacks by Palestinians since 2015.