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West Bank: Israeli forces kill Palestinian man during mass arrest campaign

Rafiq Riyad Ghannam, 20, was shot outside his home near Jenin, with Israel offering conflicting accounts of his killing
Rafiq Riyad Ghannam, 20, was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday morning in his hometown of Jabaa in the occupied West Bank. (Twitter)
Rafiq Riyad Ghannam, 20, was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday morning in his home town of Jaba in the occupied West Bank (Twitter)

Israeli forces fatally shot a 20-year-old Palestinian near the city of Jenin on Wednesday, as dozens were arrested in various raids across the occupied West Bank.

Rafiq Riyad Ghannam was wounded by Israeli fire in the early morning while standing outside his home in Jaba, a town southwest of Jenin, during an army raid, according to Palestinian officials. Israeli forces have yet to return his body, the Palestinian ministry of health said. 

The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the "summary execution" of Ghannam and accused Israel of increasing violence in the lead-up to US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region next week, despite calls for calm. 

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The Israeli army provided two versions of the event in separate statements. One statement said forces entered Jaba to make an arrest when Ghannam threw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers. Another statement said a “suspect” escaping from a building did not heed soldiers’ calls to stop and was shot as a result.  

On Sunday, Palestinian teenager Kamal Alawna, also from Jaba, died from bullet wounds sustained during a raid by Israeli forces on the town the previous night.

The Israeli army conducts raid-and-arrest operations on a near-daily basis in the occupied West Bank, which often leads to the wounding or killing of Palestinians. More than 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 29 from Jenin alone - a 46 percent increase on last year, according to the United Nations. 

'Ruthless' arrest campaign

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested more than 42 Palestinians in various raids in the cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron and Tulkarm. Raids in the northern cities of Jenin and Nablus led to armed clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters, according to local media. No Israeli casualties were reported.

The biggest arrest campaign was carried out in Silwad town near Ramallah, where more than 30 people were detained. 

Translation:  The [Israeli] occupation army arrests dozens of Palestinians from Silwad, Ramallah district.

Since last week, Silwad has become the centre of increasing tensions after a Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli forces.

On 29 June, eyewitnesses told Middle East Eye that Israeli soldiers violently assaulted residents during house raids, arresting six people. Witnesses said the soldiers severely beat the residents, and subjected the detainees to violent field investigations in front of their families, in addition to destroying and tampering with the contents of their houses.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Authority's prisoners commission, condemned the “ruthless” arrest campaign, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. He accused Israeli forces of “deliberately using excessive force and severely abusing detainees, including young and old, and subjecting them to severe beatings, insults and humiliation”.

Israel holds more than 4,700 Palestinian prisoners, including 640 who are in administrative detention with no charge, trial or definitive release date.