Deadly violence is surging across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where 13 Palestinians and one Israeli officer were killed in clashes on Thursday, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials.
The worst clashes broke out in the Nur Shams refugee camp, a densely populated residential area that Israeli forces raided Thursday morning. The forces have been “detaining wanted persons, thwarting terrorist infrastructure and confiscating weapons,” the Israeli military said. But Palestinians in the camp fought back, shooting at Israeli soldiers and throwing improvised bombs at them, killing one officer, the Israeli military said.
Palestinian health authorities said that 13 Palestinians, including five children, were killed in the clashes in Nur Shams. The Israeli military reported that one of its officers was killed. Israel also carried out a rare drone strike during the raid, saying that it had attacked “an armed terrorist squad that endangered our forces.”
The Nur Shams refugee camp was not the only hot spot. Since the devastating attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza, Palestinians have been protesting in many towns in the West Bank and clashing with Israeli soldiers.
On Thursday, Israeli forces staged simultaneous raids in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus and Ramallah, searching for militants connected to Hamas, the armed Palestinian organization that carried out the Oct. 7 attack, which killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
Since then, Palestinian human rights groups say that more than 70 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank in clashes with Israeli forces and armed Israeli settlers, by far the most in any consecutive two weeks this year. Israeli officers have arrested hundreds of people, according to Palestinian and Israeli accounts; the Israeli military said on Friday that more than 375 people of those arrested are members of Hamas.
Television news footage broadcast on Thursday showed Israeli Army trucks chugging into Palestinian residential areas and soldiers running across alleyways under the cover of darkness.
Palestinian medics said that Israeli soldiers were blocking them from getting to wounded people. Arab news channels reported that some of wounded had died from loss of blood. Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the allegation.
United Nations officials said that they were increasingly concerned about the spiraling violence.
“We are extremely alarmed by the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied West Bank and the increase in unlawful use of lethal force,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights chief, Volker Türk.
She also said that tighter restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank had prevented some from gaining access to health care services for critical conditions.
Aaron Boxerman and Nick Cumming-Bruce contributed reporting.