Three Palestinians were killed on Saturday by Israeli military troops in a morning raid. That was followed by an angry protest on the West Bank. This is the deadliest clash that has taken place in months.
This violence came amidst a recent increase in clashes between the two in the West Bank that could create complications in the already problematic peace efforts taking place as the April deadline for the talks sponsored by the U.S. quickly approaches.
The Palestinian President office has condemned the recent violence referring to it as part of the policy of Israel that has an aim to destroy everything. A request was made by Mahmoud Abbas’ office to the Americans to intervene so the peace talks can be saved.
The incident on Saturday started with the raid by Israel, which its military said had been aimed at arresting a Hamas operative Hamza Abu el-Heija wanted for his involvement in shooting and the bombing attacks against the Israelis.
The Israeli army said the operative was a ticking bomb and had been looked for, for many months. He was allegedly in the last stages of planning a big attack against the attacks.
Palestinian officials said the military surrounded the house inside the refugee camp during the night and ordered that el-Heija leave the house.
When he would not leave the house, the soldiers stormed inside and a shootout followed.
The military said everyone but the operative had left the building before they entered and the shootout took place. Israel officials said that el-Heija had shot and killed at attack dog sent in and then started firing on troops that surrounded the home. Two Israeli troops were wounded in the shootout.
When he tried to escape during the shootout with the Israelis the military returned his fire and killed him.
Within just minutes, a group of hundreds of residents and gunmen started to attack the soldiers. Troops started firing and killed two more Palestinians while wounding several others.
The military said initially that three were killed during the shootout but then corrected and revised that number.
El-Hejia’s father Jamal el-Heija a leader in Hamas is one of the longest serving prisoners in Israel. From prison, he praised the heroism of his son.