At least three Palestinians have been killed in an operation conducted by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
Local residents said that the killings took place late on Tuesday and the victims were students in their 20s.
They said that Mahmud Khaled Najjar and Moussa Abdelmajid Fanasheh were from nearby town Dura, and Mohamed Neirukh was from al-Khalil.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence organization, issued a statement claiming that the three were members of a Palestinian militant group. Other members of the alleged network have been arrested in recent days in the south and north of the occupied territories.
Israeli troops make incursions into the West Bank across the Jordan River almost on a daily basis, and abduct Palestinian activists.
Israel has also set up hundreds of checkpoints there to launch its raids from within the occupied territory.
According to the UN’s Humanitarian Office, since the beginning of this year, at least 24 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians protest against Israel settlement plan
Palestinians have staged a protest rally in the occupied West Bank to condemn the Israeli regime’s settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The demonstrators on Monday marched into the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, which is considered one of the largest Israeli settlements.
Israeli forces were deployed to break up the protest while Press TV has learned that the troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, while making several arrests.
Israeli Daily Ha’aretz reported that Tel Aviv gave the green light to the construction of 799 new settler units on Sunday.
The new units include 409 in the settlement of Givat Ze’ev, located north of East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Thirty units will be constructed in the settlement of Shiloh and the rest will be built at the Nofei Prat outpost in the settlement of Kfar Adumim.
The new plan comes less than two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to suspend plans to build 24,000 more homes in the West Bank and East al-Quds.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts made to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
On November 19, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council that the talks between Israelis and Palestinians suffered “a significant setback” as a result of a series of recent Israeli announcements of settlement plans in the West Bank and East al-Quds.