DEVELOPING STORYDEVELOPING STORY,
Large numbers of Israeli forces have entered the town of Nablus and at least 20 other Palestinians have been wounded.
At least three Palestinians have been killed and 19 wounded during clashes with Israeli forces in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said.
The violence erupted early Tuesday morning after large numbers of Israeli forces entered the town of Nablus and were spotted by Palestinian security forces and armed fighters, according to a spokesperson for the Palestinian Fatah movement.
“There are three dead and 19 wounded, three of them seriously, by Israeli fire in Nablus”, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a brief statement. One of those killed was unarmed, Palestinian health and security officials said.
The Israeli military said only that their forces were operating in Nablus but gave no further details.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is establishing “urgent contacts in order to stop this aggression against our people” in Nablus, his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.
“All of this will have dangerous and destructive consequences,” Abu Rudeineh said on Palestine TV.
Armed confrontations were continuing in and around the Old City of Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank, said Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah.
“We are hearing local sources calling this a ‘scene from hell’. We’re hearing that large numbers of Israeli forces have been pushed inside the city,” Ibrahim said. Nablus has been besieged by Israeli forces for more than two weeks already, she added.
“We’ve seen Israeli forces closing down the city because they say that they’re interested in tracking down a group calling itself the Lions’ Den”, Ibrahim said, adding that the group recently claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that killed an Israeli soldier.
Ibrahim said the reported number of casualties is expected to increase as the clashes are ongoing.
On Sunday, the Lions’ Den armed group said that one of its fighters, Tamer al-Kilani, was killed when an explosive device planted on a motorcycle exploded in the Old City of Nablus.
The group described al-Kilani as one of its “fiercest fighters” and blamed Israel for the blast that killed him as he walked past.
The Israeli military declined to comment on the claim that it was behind the killing.
Israeli forces have been conducting nightly raids in the occupied West Bank since March in what it says is a bid to dismantle armed networks and thwart attacks.
Abu Akleh was wearing a press vest and was standing with other journalists when she was shot dead in a case that has been described as a targeted killing by Israeli forces.