Israel claims killing of three Palestinians to be “foiling of an attack”.
Palestine says it is a bid to hamstring next month’s visit by US president.
JENIN, WEST BANK – Israeli troops murdered three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Friday, in what the Palestinian leadership described as an attempt to stymie US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit next month, but which Israeli officials described as the “foiling of an attack.”
The attack was the latest in a string of violent incidents in Jenin, which has experienced increased military operations in recent weeks.
Troops confiscating guns in two locations of town overnight “came under fire, including from a car, and shot back,” according to the military.
The gunmen were “martyred while carrying out their religious duty in resisting occupying forces who attacked Jenin,” according to a statement from a local group.
Hamas claimed that one of the gunmen was a member of the group.
A large portion of Jenin’s population is derived from refugees who fled Israel’s founding war in 1948. Poverty and poor administration beset the town.
Biden will meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials from July 13 to 16, according to the White House, “to emphasise his strong support for a two-state solution, with equal amounts of security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian statehood talks broke down in 2014 and show no signs of resuming. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett opposes Palestinian sovereignty and instead proposes economic cooperation.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a “assassination” of the gunmen, which might lead to violence.
Israel’s move “comes ahead of US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the country.”