The Israeli-Palestinian tensions rose further on Monday as a Palestinian man was killed in an Israeli raid and Israeli launched airstrikes in Gaza Stripes in response to rockets fired from there.
The tensions have been on an upward trajectory in recent weeks with a wave of Palestinian attacks inside Israel and rising casualties in near-daily Israeli raids in Palestinian territories.
The latest round of violence comes three days after three Israelis were killed in Jerusalem in a car attack and four were injured. On January 27, seven Israelis were killed in a shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem. Just a day before the shooting, 10 Palestinains were killed in an Israeli raid in Jenin in West Bank. Another shooting in Jerusalem the next day injured two.
The Israeli military has said it entered the Palestinian territories to nab a man suspected to have attacked Israeli soldiers earlier. The Israeli soldiers were fired at which led to a gunfight and the subsequent death, according to the Israeli military.
As for the airstrikes in Gaza, those appear to be in response to rockets fired from there into Israel on Saturday.
The Palestinian man's death
Palestinian officials said a Palestinian man was killed and at least seven others were injured Mon onday in a shootout with Israeli troops in West Bank city of Nablus.
The deceased has been identified as Amir Bustami, 21. It's not known if he was involved in the shootout or whether he died in cross-fire.
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 a shootout with soldiers and apprehended.
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. At least 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022 and at least 11 others in attacks so far in 2023.
Israeli airstrike in Gaza
Residents of the Gaza Strip said Israeli aircraft launched a series of airstrikes at militant sites in the coastal Palestinian territory early Monday.
The airstrikes appear to be a response to the firing of a rocket by Palestinian militants toward southern Israel Saturday evening. Israeli air defences intercepted the rocket.
The Israeli military said the airstrikes targeted an underground rocket manufacturing complex run by Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Hamas is the largest Palestinian terrorist group which is committed to the establishment of a singular Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel.
Think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP) says, "The group’s ideology blends Islamism and Palestinian nationalism and seeks the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River...Hamas’s preferred methods include suicide bombings, rocket and mortar attacks, shootings, and kidnappings."
The Gaza-Israel frontier had been largely quiet in recent months, but there have been intermittent rocket fire and airstrikes influenced by soaring violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Rising Israeli-Palestinian violence
For the past one year, the Israeli-Palestinian violence has been at its highest in over a decade. Casualties have mounted in Palestinian attacks inside Israel and in Israeli raids in Palestinian territories.
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.
(With AP inputs)