Israel detains dozens after two Palestinians shot dead in West Bank

Two Palestinians were shot dead and another was wounded by Israeli fire in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Sunday, officials said, the latest incidents in a spate of violence.

The first, identified as Mahmud Eram, 27, was killed by Israeli troops in Tulkarm city north of the West Bank when he attempted to cross into Israel through the separation barrier.

Israel’s army said the shooting occurred after “soldiers spotted a suspect who attempted to illegally cross the security fence” in the area.

Thousands of Palestinian workers cross daily into Israel from the West Bank, many without an Israeli entry permit.

Hours later, the army said an Israeli security guard shot a Palestinian who broke into the Teqoa settlement south of the West Bank near the city of Bethlehem.

The Palestinian health ministry identified him as Motasem Attalah, 17, who Israeli media said was carrying a knife when entering the settlement.

Also on Sunday, Israeli forces shot and wounded a Palestinian inside a police checkpoint at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.

According to police, the Palestinian identified as Natheer Marzouk, 19, from Ramallah, was taken into the station for a search. There, he took out a knife and allegedly stabbed an officer. Both Marzouk and a 24-year-old officer were being treated for their wounds.

The Sunday incidents came hours after Israeli forces caught two Palestinians suspected of killing three people in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Elad last Thursday following a three-day manhunt.

Two men, identified as residents of a village near Jenin in the West Bank, were found in a forest near Elad, the Israeli army said.

Photos of the two and Israeli security men with guns pointed at their hiding place were carried by Israeli news websites after they were taken into custody.

On Monday, Israeli troops carried out a fresh round of arrests and raids in the West Bank as tensions continue to run high.

At least 15 people were detained during army operations in and around the cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

The army said four of those arrested were suspected of involvement in the killings in Elad on Thursday and the shooting in Ariel settlement a week earlier.

Israeli forces conduct violent raids, sometimes deadly, in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank on a near-daily basis. Since the start of the year, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 50 Palestinians in various incidents. The casualties include two women and 7 minors.

Hamas, which governs the besieged Gaza Strip, had praised the Elad assault, which it said was a response to recent Israeli raids on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Palestinians and Jordan, the custodian of the site that is the third-holiest in Islam, accuse Israel of not doing enough to enforce a long-standing ban on non-Muslim prayer there, which Israel denies.