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Arrests after Palestinian group claims killing of W.Bank settler guard

Following the death of a guard at a Jewish settlement, Israeli security forces increased their presence in the occupied West Bank on Saturday and made arrests.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, one of the most powerful militant organizations in the West Bank, claimed responsibility for the assassination, which came at the end of a bloody Friday marked by fighting at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque, along with the killing of a Palestinian.

The army said the guard was on post at the gate to the Ariel hamlet when terrorists opened fire on Friday night. The man, in his twenties, died as a result of his injuries, according to emergency personnel.

According to an army statement, soldiers increased their presence on Saturday, particularly near the entrance to the neighboring Palestinian settlement of Salfi.

Security authorities had also made arrests and seized firearms in adjacent Bruqin and the Balata refugee camp, according to the statement.

The armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah faction claimed responsibility for the incident on Saturday.

“We claim responsibility for the heroic operation in the colony of Ariel in which a Zionist officer was killed, in response to violations committed by the occupation government in Jerusalem,” the group said.

A Palestinian in his twenties was shot and killed during an Israeli army operation in the northern West Bank village of Azzun, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 42 persons were injured in conflicts between Palestinians and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa shrine in Jerusalem’s old city, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews.

The unrest began on the penultimate Friday of Ramadan, the Muslim holy fasting month, and resulted in roughly 300 Palestinians being injured in skirmishes over a two-week period.

Al-Aqsa mosque compound is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank, and later annexed, in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

Since then, Israel has developed settlements in the West Bank that are illegal under international law but house roughly 475,000 Israelis.

The Al-Aqsa clashes occurred against a backdrop of increased violence in Israel and the West Bank since March 22.

In separate incidents inside Israel, thirteen Israelis, including an Arab-Israeli police officer, and two Ukrainians were killed. Palestinians carried out two of the deadly strikes in the Tel Aviv area.

During the same time period, 27 Palestinians and three Israeli Arabs died, including attackers and those slain by Israeli security forces in West Bank operations.

Courtesy Bol News

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