Health authorities said a 16-year-old Palestinian died early Wednesday after being injured in clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a spate of violence that has lasted for months.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Ghaith Yamin was shot in the head and died in a hospital. Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, reported that the clashes erupted when Jewish worshipers, escorted by the military, arrived at a shrine on the outskirts of Nablus city to pray.
At least 15 Palestinians were injured by live ammunition, according to Wafa, during the clashes near Joseph’s Tomb, a frequent flashpoint site. Some Jews believe the biblical Joseph is buried at the site, while Palestinians say it is the tomb of a sheikh.
On Tuesday, Israeli authorities said they foiled a sweeping plot by the Palestinian group Hamas to shoot a lawmaker, kidnap soldiers and bomb Jerusalem’s light rail system in a wave of violence that left dozens deaths in recent weeks.
Police and Shin Bet security services said in a statement that five Palestinian men from East Jerusalem were arrested for allegedly planning a shooting attack on far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir and other targets at a moment of heightened tensions in the burning city.
The suspects, authorities said, planned the attacks last month, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to “destabilize” the area around Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Authorities said a drone was found, intended to be armed and used in an attack on the Jerusalem Light Rail, which sees crowds of commuters and tourists daily.
They identified the ringleaders of the plot as Hamas activists Rashid Rashak and Mansur Tzafadi, who “delivered numerous Hamas fireworks, flags and videos” to East Jerusalem neighborhoods last month during Ramadan. Security forces also seized a camera to be used to photograph “abductees”, cash and other equipment.
The statement did not specify how close they were to carrying out the plot. There was no immediate comment from Hamas.
The arrests came at a time of heightened violence between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in East Jerusalem, much of it focused at a disputed holy site. Israel has also stepped up its military activities in the West Bank in recent weeks in response to a series of deadly attacks inside Israel.
Next week, Israeli ultra-nationalists plan to march down the main Muslim thoroughfare in the Old City.
The march is meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel then annexed the area in a step that is not internationally recognised. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
The death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in an exchange of fire in Jenin also stoked tensions. A reconstruction by The Associated Press supports claims by Palestinian authorities and Abu Akleh’s colleagues that the bullet that shot her came from an Israeli gun.
Any conclusive answer is likely to prove elusive due to the grave mistrust between the two sides, with each alone in possession of potentially crucial evidence.