At least 10 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire in the West Bank Saturday, as tensions in the region escalated following the killing of an Israeli couple earlier this week. Since the incident, the Israeli military has launched a massive manhunt to capture the perpetrators, believed to be militants affiliated to the Islamist group Hamas.
“Ten people were wounded by live rounds to the legs or stomach [and] four others were wounded in beatings,” the Palestinian Red Crescent told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The clashes reportedly took place in the northern West Bank town of Nablus.
Palestinian police officials reportedly said that the incident took place when “dozens of Israeli soldiers in military vehicles” entered a neighborhood in the town and arrested eight people.
Following the killing of the Israeli couple, who were allegedly shot dead in front of their children while driving through the occupied West Bank late Thursday, the Israeli army has deployed four infantry battalions in the region to search for the suspects and to ensure that the roads are kept safe from more attacks.
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group in control of the Gaza Strip, reportedly praised the attack as a “heroic operation carried out by resistance fighters in the West Bank.”
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have already been running high in the West Bank following violent confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinian youths in the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Temple Mount compound -- a site venerated by both Jews and Muslims.
Earlier this week, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly that Israel risked creating “an explosive situation” in Jerusalem with its use of “brutal force.”
“It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations; what is required is to mobilize international efforts to oversee an end to the occupation in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy,” Abbas reportedly said. “Until then, I call upon the United Nations to provide international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law.”