Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in West Bank clash

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The fatalities in the village of Kafr-Dan were the first for Palestinians since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office last week leading a hard-right coalition.

The Israeli army has confirmed that it raided the homes of two Palestinians who killed one of its commanders in the West Bank last year before being shot dead.

Troops fired at Palestinians in Kafr-Dan who attacked them with bullets, rocks and firebombs, the army said in a statement. There were no Israeli casualties in the incident.

Hamas, an Islamic group that rules the Gaza Strip and has followers in the West Bank, claimed as its member one of the dead Palestinians, who was 17 years old.

In a statement, Hamas, which rejects coexistence with Israel, promised to “follow the resistance and confront the terrorism and fascism of the new government of the Occupation”.

There was no immediate word on whether the second slain Palestinian, aged 21, had factional affiliations.

In Kafr-Dan, Hani Abed, father of one of the gunmen killed in the confrontation of September 14, described the Israeli demolition as “collective punishment”.

“This will not break our determination,” he told Reuters while standing next to the rubble of his home.

Last year saw the worst levels of violence in the West Bank in more than a decade, much of it concentrated around Nablus and the nearby city of Jenin, with at least 150 Palestinians and more than 20 Israelis killed.

In Ramallah, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh held Israel responsible for any escalation that may result from “acts of killing and daily incursions”.

(Reporting by Emily Rose and Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Bradley Perrett, Robert Birsel)

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