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Israel kills three Palestinians in Jenin, calls for general strike

Ramallah, occupied West Bank – The Israeli army killed three Palestinian men during a raid on Jenin, the latest people to be killed in a months-long Israeli campaign of almost daily raids in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the three killed Thursday morning as Siqdi Zakarneh, 29, Atta Shalabi, 46, and Tareq al-Damaj, 29.

The ministry announced his death at approximately 5:30 am (02:30 GMT).

Zakarneh and al-Damaj were from the Jenin refugee camp, while Shalabi was from the town of Qabatya on the southern outskirts of Jenin.

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At least two other Palestinian men were injured by Israeli fire during the raid, including one in serious condition, local journalists told Al Jazeera.

A general strike was announced in Jenin Governorate to mourn the three men, with schools, businesses and shops closed.

The Israeli army, including special forces, raided Jenin and its refugee camp at dawn on Thursday and arrested several wanted Palestinian resistance fighters, during which clashes broke out between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians.

According to local journalist Mujahed al-Saadi, one of the men killed, Sidqi Zakarneh, was a fighter, while Shalabi and al-Damaj were civilians.

Al-Saadi, as well as local media, said Zakarneh was affiliated with the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah political party, but it is unclear if Zakarneh was fighting when he was shot.

“Eyewitnesses said that Zakarneh was shot in his car. The people who took him out of the car said they found no weapons in it,” said Jenin-based Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samoudi.

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The second man killed, Atta Shalabi, was driving with his brother on his way to work when Zakarneh was found murdered in his car.

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“Atta tried to help Zakarneh, but as soon as he got close, the Israeli army shot him,” al-Samoudi said, according to information received from Shalabi’s brother, Mohammad.

Shalabi was a laborer working in Israel, according to his brother. He had a work permit and was on his way to the Jalameh checkpoint in Jenin when he was killed.

The context surrounding the murder of the third man, al-Damaj, remains unclear.

After the incident, the Israeli army said its forces had been conducting “counterterrorism” activities near Jenin when its soldiers were “attacked with direct fire and responded with live fire” during an arrest raid.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA) presidency, said in a statement that the “Israeli occupation government is trying to ignite the region by continuing its crimes against the Palestinian people,” adding that the frequent killings of Palestinians are creating “an explosive situation.”

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The Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement that two men were arrested during the raid, Bajes Kayed and Khaled Misbah Abu al-Hayja, both former prisoners in Israeli jails.

Local media reported that Israeli forces also fired on Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances during the raid. Videos shared online showed the aftermath of his attack, with several bullet holes in the windshield and inside the ambulance.

Four Palestinians killed in less than 24 hours

The killing of the three men comes less than 24 hours after the Israeli army killed a Palestinian from the city of Silwad, on the outskirts of Ramallah, in the central occupied West Bank.

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The man was identified as 32-year-old Mujahed al-Najjar. Residents told Al Jazeera that al-Najjar was killed in a firefight with the Israeli army in the nearby town of Deir Dibwan following a chase.

Israeli authorities said they believe al-Najjar was behind several shootings in recent days at the Ofra military base, which was built on Silwad land and stands at its entrance.

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On Thursday morning, the Israeli army raided Silwad and arrested al-Najjar’s father and brother.

Tensions in the occupied West Bank and Israel have been simmering since last year.

Israeli army incursions and killings of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have increased and occur almost daily, in parallel with an increase in Palestinian armed attacks, as well as an increase in settler attacks against Palestinians.

The raids have particularly focused on the cities of Jenin and Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, where Palestinian armed resistance is growing.

More than 200 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, have been killed by Israel in the occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip in 2022, the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

More than 25 people have died in Israel.

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