RAMALLAH (Reuters) – Israeli forces said they shot and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank who they said tried to carry out a car-ramming attack on troops conducting a security operation, while a Palestinian official described the incident as an “execution”.
The latest in a near-daily series of security incidents in the West Bank took place before dawn in the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah.
The Israeli military said soldiers went into the camp to apprehend an individual suspected of “terror activity”.
During the operation, “two suspects attempted to carry out a ramming attack against IDF soldiers. The soldiers responded with fire and neutralized the two suspects”, said the Israeli military.
The account was disputed by a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who said the troops had carried out an “execution.”
“Such a reckless policy will not bring security or stability for anyone,” said the spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
Awatef Basbous, the mother of one of the dead men, said her son had been going to his job at a bakery when he was shot.
“It never crossed my mind they would kill him on his way to work,” Awatef Basbous said, as she met women neighbours who came to the house to pay their respects.
More than 70 Palestinians have been killed this year as Israel has stepped its operations in West Bank cities following a series of deadly Palestinian street attacks in Israel earlier in the year.
Raids by Israeli security forces and clashes with militant groups in West Bank cities like Nablus and Jenin have escalated as Israel approaches a general election on Nov. 1.
Initial media reports spoke of three casualties in the incident and one witness, who declined to be identified, said he had seen troops carrying three bodies away from the site. However Israeli military spokesmen said there were only two casualties.
(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi in Gaza, Ali Sawafta and Mohammed Torokman in Ramallah; editing by Philippa Fletcher)