Israeli troops shot and wounded two Palestinians on Monday during clashes that broke out during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank. The violence has stoked tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The shootings followed the arrests of 18 people on Sunday, as Israeli riot police faced off with fireworks-hurling Palestinians in the alleyways of the walled Old City after a visit by Jews to a disputed holy site.
Israel has carried out a wave of arrest raids and other operations in recent weeks that it said are aimed at preventing further attacks after Palestinian assailants killed at least 14 people inside Israel. Two of the attackers came from in and around Jenin, which has long been a bastion of armed struggle against Israeli rule.
At least 25 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in recent weeks, according to an Associated Press count. Many had carried out attacks or were involved in clashes, but an unarmed woman and a lawyer who appears to have been a bystander were among those killed.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state.
The confluence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover has turned Jerusalem into a flashpoint. Palestinian protesters and Israeli police have clashed at the holy site, which is known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Jordan and Egypt, which made peace with Israel decades ago and coordinate with it on security matters, have condemned its actions at the holy site. Jordan, which serves as custodian of the site, summoned Israel’s charge d’affaires in protest on Monday.
Israel said security forces were forced to enter the compound after Palestinians stockpiled stones and other objects and hurled rocks in the direction of an adjacent Jewish holy site. The Palestinians and Arab states accused the police of storming the site in violation of longstanding arrangements known as the status quo.
Protests and clashes in and around the shrine last year helped fuel the 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza.