Palestinians outcry over killing of 2 men in West Bank

The Palestinians on Sunday condemned the killing of two Palestinians during clashes with the Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Early on Sunday morning, Palestinian eyewitnesses and security sources told Xinhua that a special Israeli army force, backed by armored vehicles, stormed the city of Nablus and clashed with Palestinian gunmen.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a press statement that Aboud Sobh, 29, and Muhammad Al-Azizi, 22, died of their sustained wounds at Rafidya Hospital in the city, adding that eight others were wounded, including three in serious conditions.

The West Bank towns and villages usually witness regular confrontations between the Palestinians and the Israeli forces, which carry out from time to time military raids to detain Palestinians wanted by Israel.

The eyewitnesses said that thousands joined the funeral of Sobh and Azizi, who were members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party.

Meanwhile, an Israeli army spokesman said in an emailed press statement that “special police forces, along with army forces, operated in the old city of Nablus, where they dealt with armed men suspected of carrying out “terrorist activities.”

“Clashes erupted in the city, and a number of saboteurs were eliminated,” the spokesman said, adding that the forces found weapons in one of the wanted apartments, including rifles and pistols.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, said in a leaflet that it mourns the death of Sobh and Azizi, adding that “actions of resistance will intensify all over the West Bank to show that we do not accept surrender.”

During the funeral, Palestinian gunmen fired into the air while mourners waved Fatah yellow flags and chanted anti-Israel slogans calling for immediate revenge.

Nasser Abu Jeish, the coordinator of Palestinian factions in Nablus, told Xinhua that “a state of outrage and sadness dominated the city,” adding that “what happened today is a major crime against the Palestinian citizens.”

The Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned what he termed “the crime of assassinating the two young men, Sobh and Azizi. He held the Israeli government fully responsible for it.”

He called on the U.S. “to defend its credibility and compel Israel to abide by the rules of international law and the international resolutions and to respect bilateral understandings and the signed agreements.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said in a statement that he warns of the dangers arising from the repetition of such “crimes that would not have occurred if the perpetrators felt that they could escape punishment.”

Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, said in a short statement that “international protection is the guarantee to put an end to the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that escalation would not provide Israel with a safe escape from the entitlements of peace.

“The Israeli government is perpetuating the security approach in dealing with the Palestinian cause and displacing and excluding political solutions,” the statement said, adding that killing the two and storming the city of Nablus was “a flagrant violation of the signed agreements, international law, and the Geneva Conventions.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid congratulated the security forces on an effective and successful operation, according to Israeli media reports.

“The government will not stand idly by and wait for the Israelis to be harmed. We will go out and strike the terrorists in their homes,” Lapid told the weekly meeting of the Israeli cabinet.

Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesman of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which rules the Gaza Strip, said in a press statement the clashes with the Israeli forces in Nablus “were a heroic and brave act.”

He added that Palestinian cities in the West Bank “have become forbidden to the Israeli occupation thanks to the Palestinian armed resistance.” ■

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