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Several killed in Israel raid on West Bank as US, EU sanction more settlers

Violence erupted during an Israeli army raid at the Nur Shams refugee camp in the city of Tulkarem.

At least five Palestinians, including a teenager, have been killed during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem.

The escalating violence on Friday came as the United States and the European Union imposed more sanctions targeting hardliner Israeli settlers engaged in violence against Palestinians in the occupied territory.

A 16-year-old who was shot with live fire by Israeli forces was among those killed, Palestinian health officials said. The boy – identified as Qais Fathi Nasrallah – arrived at the hospital in Tulkarem after already succumbing to his wounds.

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, reporting from Tulkarem, said the Israeli military went into the Nur Shams refugee camp late on Thursday night in an hours-long operation that stretched into Friday.

He said armed clashes carried on between the military and Palestinian resistance fighters, during which people were killed.

“One of them was the leader of the Tulkarem resistance brigade, the battalion of about 50 men strong that is based in Tulkarem, a man named Mohammed Jaber,” Basravi said, adding that Jaber has been targeted in the past, and his brother was killed in December.

“This very dramatic escalation of events in the occupied West Bank in this ongoing raid seemed to have been successful in targeting Mohammed Jaber,” he added.

During the raid “dozens of homes were destroyed and demolished”, Al Jazeera’s correspondent said.

“Israeli soldiers have been carrying out raids in homes, carrying out on-site interrogations … Locals describe the mayhem being carried out by the Israeli military as the worst destruction of infrastructure they’ve seen in the West Bank since the destruction of the Jenin refugee camp during the second Intifada in the early 2000s.”

The West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, has seen a surge in violence in the past year, particularly since Israel’s war on Gaza erupted in October.

At least 468 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers across the West Bank since October 7, according to official Palestinian sources.

In Gaza, Israel’s war has killed 34,000 Palestinians and wounded over 76,800 more.

US, EU sanctions on settlers

Meanwhile on Friday, the US and EU imposed more sanctions on Israeli settlers engaged in violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The EU said that the European Council slapped sanctions on four “extremist” Israeli settlers and two entities over “serious human rights abuses against Palestinians”.

The EU put two “radical” organisations – Lehava and the Hilltop Youth – on its asset freeze and visa ban blacklist for their attacks on Palestinians.

It also included Hilltop Youth leaders Meir Ettinger and Elisha Yered, along with settlers Neria Ben Pazi and Yinon Levi.

It said abuses included “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and “the violation of right to property and to private and family life of Palestinians in the West Bank”.

Separately, the US said it was adding Ben-Zion Gopstein, the founder and leader of Lehava, to its own blacklist.

Washington also imposed sanctions on two groups involved in raising tens of thousands of dollars for settlers Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai, who were targeted in its earlier sanctions, the Treasury Department announced in a statement.

Washington had previously sanctioned five settlers and two unauthorised outposts in the West Bank in two rounds of sanctions.

One entity, Mount Hebron Fund, launched an online fundraising campaign that raised $140,000 for Levi, the Treasury said, after he was sanctioned on February 1 for leading a group of settlers that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, burned their fields and destroyed their property.

It said the second entity, Shlom Asiraich, raised $31,000 on a crowdfunding website for Chasdai, who the US says initiated and led a riot that included setting vehicles and buildings on fire and causing damage to property in Huwara, resulting in the death of a Palestinian civilian.

“Such acts by these organisations undermine the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank. We will continue to use our tools to hold those responsible accountable,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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