Israeli army mounts rare raid into Palestinian city of Ramallah, clashes ensue

Israeli army mounts rare raid into Palestinian city of Ramallah, clashes ensue
Palestinians confronted Israeli forces in the early hours of Thursday after they stormed Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
2 min read
Israeli forces and settlers have killed around 160 Palestinians since the start of this year [Getty/archive]

Clashes erupted after Israeli forces mounted a rare raid into the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank early on Thursday, in what the military said was an operation to demolish the house of an assailant.

A Reuters witness said a large military convoy arrived in downtown Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, leading hundreds of Palestinians to gather in the area.

Some Palestinian youth hurled stones at the Israeli forces, who fired live bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at the crowd, the witness said. Trash bins that were set on fire blocked roads as ambulance sirens wailed.

The Palestinian health ministry said at least six people were transferred to hospital for treatment, including three who sustained gunshot wounds.

The Israeli military said its forces were operating in Ramallah "to demolish the residence of the terrorist who carried out the bombing attack in Jerusalem last November".

The twin blasts killed two people and wounded at least 14 others in what police said were explosions of improvised bombs that were planted at bus stops near the city exit and in a junction leading to an Israeli settlement.

"The demolition of the homes of fighters is a collective punishment that falls under the war crimes committed by the occupation against our people," said Abdel Fattah Dola of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party.

Hours earlier the U.S. envoy to Palestinians, Hady Amr, met with senior Palestinian official Hussein Al-Sheikh.

Israeli violence in the West Bank - among territories where Palestinians seek statehood - has risen during the past year.

The Palestinian health ministry said at least 158 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed by Israel since January in the occupied territories and the besieged Gaza Strip, which Israel has bombed repeatedly.