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Two Palestinians killed in Israeli military raid on refugee camp in occupied West Bank

TWO PALESTINIANS were killed during an Israeli military raid today in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said.

The Israeli military said that it moved into the Nour Shams refugee camp, near the town of Tulkarem, to destroy what it described as a militant command centre and bomb-storage facility in a building.

It said that engineering units detonated a number of bombs planted under roads, and that militants opened fire and hurled explosives.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said two men — Asid Abu Ali, 21, and Abdulrahman Abu Daghash, 32 — were killed by Israeli soldiers.

The raid caused heavy damage to the building, severing water pipes and collapsing the exterior wall on the second floor.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Birzeit University, a major Palestinian institution, said the Israeli army carried out a rare raid on its campus near the city of Ramallah and arrested nine students, including the head of the student council.

It said the students were all supporters of the Hamas militant group. The university denounced the raid, which it said caused damage to university property.

Israel has been carrying out stepped-up military raids, primarily in the northern West Bank, for the past year and a half in what it says is a campaign to root out Palestinian militants and thwart future attacks.

But Palestinians say that the raids entrench Israel’s 56-year occupation over the West Bank. The raids have shown little sign of slowing the fighting and contributed to the weakening of the Palestinian Authority, the self-rule government that administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Some 190 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the start of the year, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel claims that most of those its soldiers have killed are militants, but youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations have also been killed.

At least 31 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis this year.

The tensions have begun to spread over the past week to the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of Palestinians have been holding daily demonstrations along the wall separating the territory from Israel.

On Saturday, Israeli air strikes hit what it claimed was a militant site for the second time in as many days, after Palestinians sent incendiary balloons into Israeli farmland and Palestinian protesters threw stones and explosives at soldiers at the border wall.

The spike in violence comes during the Jewish New Year holiday season. Jews are set to mark Yom Kippur, the holiest day on their calendar, on Sunday night followed by the week-long Sukkot festival later in the month.

During Sukkot, large numbers of Jews are expected to visit Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The compound, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is often a focal point for violence.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war. The Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.

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