Israel kills four Palestinians in West Bank

Saturday 22 March 2014 16.18
Palestinian men carry the bodies of comrades upon their arrival at an hospital in the Jenin refugee camp
Palestinian men carry the bodies of comrades upon their arrival at an hospital in the Jenin refugee camp

Israeli forces have shot and killed four Palestinians during a raid on a home in the occupied West Bank to capture a wanted Hamas Islamist militant.

Hamas supporters carried three bodies through the streets of the West Bank city of Jenin, shouting slogans against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, involved in US-brokered peace talks with Israel.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, does not recognise the state of Israel and opposes the negotiations.

The Israeli military said its forces raided a home in a refugee camp in Jenin where they shot and killed a Hamas militant, Hamza Abu Alhija, after he opened fire.

Two Israeli troops were wounded when he shot at them, they said.

The three other Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces as they confronted protesters throwing petrol bombs and rocks at them during the raid to capture Hamza Abu Alhija, 24, a suspect in past attacks against Israelis, the military said.

The owner of the home where he had tried to hide said the troops arrived at around 2am.

"There was shooting in the house for about half an hour, and then the soldiers came and ordered us to leave so we did," said Azmi Husniya.

Mr Husniya said he had seen Hamza Abu jump from a window while trying to flee.

The house was badly damaged in the raid and two of his sons were wounded in the shooting.

The fighting was some of the worst seen in Jenin since a 2002 Israeli incursion in the area, highlighting rising tensions between the sides, three days after troops killed a Palestinian youth elsewhere in the West Bank.

Palestinian officials said before today's incident that Israeli forces have killed 57 Palestinians and injured almost 900 since the resumption of peace talks last July.

The US-brokered negotiations have shown little progress as an April deadline set by US Secretary of State John Kerry looms.

The talks are aimed at achieving Palestinian statehood alongside Israel in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war.