A Palestinian man was killed and two journalists shot and injured by Israeli forces during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian authorities said Wednesday.
The man who was killed was 21, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The Israeli military alleged that he was shooting at soldiers during the raid, which took place in the village of Deir al-Hatab near Nablus.
The two journalists injured were identified as photojournalists Mahmoud Fawzy and Louay Samhan who work for the Palestinian Authority television network Palestine TV, Palestinian authorities said.
The Israel Defense Forces said that the cause of their injuries is “unknown.”
Video from the scene where the two journalists were shot show the two men and their colleagues in a building wearing protective helmets and vests with PRESS labels.
One of the journalists appears to be climbing in from a window or opening with an injury to the leg before being assisted by colleagues. Another journalist lays across stairs with what appears to be an injury to his arm before he is also assisted up by colleagues out of the house and into an ambulance. The Palestinian Red Crescent said both are in stable condition.
In a statement, the IDF said they were in the village “to apprehend a terrorist suspected of involvement in carrying out the shooting attack at an Israeli bus and taxi adjacent to the city of Nablus last Sunday.”
The IDF said the suspect, identified by the IDF as an operative working for the Hamas militant group, barricaded himself in a residential building and shot at soldiers, who responded with “live fire toward the residence” as well as “fragmentation grenades and a bulldozer.” The suspect, identified as Salman Amran, was ultimately arrested, the IDF said.
During the raid, the IDF said “shots were fired toward the soldiers from a number of sources. The soldiers responded with live fire toward the sources of the shooting. Hits on a number of armed Palestinians were identified and one assailant was killed as a result of the shooting.”
Regarding the two journalists injured, the IDF said “we are aware of reports regarding two media workers who were in the area of the activity and got injured, the cause of the injury is unknown. We emphasize that the presence of uninvolved civilians in combat areas poses a life-threat.”
Unusually, the raid took place on Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday when all of Israel, including the airports, completely shuts down.
Ahmad Assaf, General Supervisor of the Official Media for the Palestinian Authority, said the crew were in the village to cover the Israeli military raid and accused Israel of “incessant Israeli targeting of the Palestinian media, which did not stop for one day and aims to obscure the truth, bury it, and terrorize the Palestinian journalists.”
“Despite the crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian media, we are determined to continue with our duty toward our people and their cause, expose the crimes of the occupation, and convey their voice to the world,” Assaf said.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh in a statement accused Israel of “targeting journalists to keep their lenses away from the crime scene.”
Shtayyeh also accused Israel of a “systematic policy of killing and intimidation, without any consideration for international laws, taking advantage of the absence of accountability and impunity.”
The occupied West Bank, especially the areas of Jenin and Nablus, is in an increasingly volatile and dangerous situation, as near daily Israeli military operations clash with increasingly armed Palestinians.
Israel has been regularly raiding cities and villages in the occupied West Bank, saying it is targeting militants and their weapon caches before they have the chance to cross into Israel and carry out attacks. The operation, dubbed “Break the Wave” by the IDF, was launched after a series of attacks on Israelis. At least 20 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in attacks targeting civilians and soldiers in Israel and the West Bank so far this year.
More than 105 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year, making it the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied territories since 2015, according to Palestinian health authorities. Israel says most Palestinians killed were engaging violently with soldiers during military operations, although dozens of unarmed civilians have been killed, human rights groups including B’Tselem have said.
Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while also covering a military raid in Jenin in May. Like Fawzy and Samhan, Abu Akleh was wearing a protective helmet and vest with PRESS on the front and back.
Although initially claiming Abu Akleh could have been killed by Palestinian militant fire, the IDF later admitted she was likely killed by an Israeli soldier by mistake who did not see that she was media.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate says so far this year there have been 80 cases of physical assault of Palestinian journalists and 35 injuries by bullets from Israeli forces.