Palestinian man, Israeli policeman, killed in new fighting

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian man on Monday was killed during a shootout in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian paramedics said, while an Israeli policeman was killed while trying to stop a Palestinian stabbing attack in east Jerusalem, police said.

The incidents were the latest violence in a surge of deadly Israeli-Palestinian fighting that began last spring and shows no signs of slowing.

The Israeli military said it carried out raids across the West Bank overnight, and that troops came under fire during the arrest of two men suspected of killing an Israeli soldier in October. The army said the two wanted men were injured in the shootout in the northern city of Nablus and arrested.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Amir Bustami, 21, was killed in the Israeli army raid. It was not clear if he had been involved in the shootout.

In east Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli police said a young teenage Palestinian boy pulled out a knife and stabbed a paramilitary officer during a routine inspection at a military checkpoint. Police said a security guard opened fire, apparently shooting the officer. The boy was arrested, and the officer later died of his wounds, police said.

Tensions have mounted for months as Israel has conducted nightly arrest raids in the West Bank, which were prompted by a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis last spring. Some 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022, and at least 11 others in attacks so far in 2023.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. At least 46 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since the start of this year.

Israel says that most of those killed have been militants but others — including youths protesting the incursions and other people not involved in confrontations — have also been killed.

Israel says the military raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks while the Palestinians view them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war, territories the Palestinians claim for their hoped-for independent state.

Earlier on Monday, the Israeli military said aircraft bombed a rocket manufacturing site and military installations in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants launched four rockets into southern Israel overnight. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Gaza-Israel frontier had been largely quiet in recent months, but there have been intermittent rocket fire and airstrikes as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have soared.