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Undercover Israeli Troops Raid Hospital, Kill Palestinian

  • Reuters

Relatives of Palestinian Abdullah al-Shalalda, who was killed by Israeli undercover forces in a raid at Al-Ahly hospital, mourn at his funeral in the West Bank village of Sair, north of Hebron, Nov. 12, 2015.

Relatives of Palestinian Abdullah al-Shalalda, who was killed by Israeli undercover forces in a raid at Al-Ahly hospital, mourn at his funeral in the West Bank village of Sair, north of Hebron, Nov. 12, 2015.

Israeli undercover forces raided a hospital in the West Bank on Thursday, shooting dead a Palestinian during an attempt to detain another man suspected of carrying out a stabbing, the Palestinian health ministry and doctors said.

The Israeli army confirmed the raid and shooting but did not have details of the man's condition. It said the raid was carried out to detain Azzam al-Shalalda, 22, who was suspected of stabbing an Israeli settler two weeks ago in the West Bank. Officials had previously given Shalalda's age as 27.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Shalalda and his family, including a cousin killed in the raid, were known operatives of the Islamist group Hamas.

The director of Hebron's al-Ahly hospital, Jehad Shawar, told Palestine radio that 20 to 30 men arrived in two minivans at around 3 a.m. local time. They entered with someone in a wheelchair pretending to be pregnant.

CCTV footage from inside the hospital showed a large group of men armed with pistols and rifles, some with beards and others with keffiyeh scarves on their heads, walking through the corridors telling hospital workers to get out of the way.

"They held the staff at gunpoint and stormed the room of Shalalda," Shawar said.

Shalalda's brother Bilal, who was asleep in the room, said he was tied to the bed by the Israeli forces.

A cousin, Abdallah, who was in the bathroom, was shot dead when he suddenly entered the room, Shawar said.

"As his cousin exited the bathroom, which was inside the room, they fired five bullets: one bullet in the head, one in the chest and three in his body," Shawar told the radio station. "They took Azzam and placed him in the wheelchair they brought the woman in and they exited the room, preventing anyone from giving medical aid to the young man lying on the floor."

A wave of violence has swept across Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank since October 1, fueled in part by dispute over access to a site in Jerusalem that is holy to both Muslims and Jews.

Twelve Israelis have been stabbed to death, shot dead or run over and killed in attacks by Palestinians.

Seventy-six Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli security forces, including 44 people who, according to Israeli police, were carrying out or about to carry out attacks.

Israel's Supreme Court said on Thursday it would not intervene to prevent the demolition of five houses belonging to Palestinians accused or suspected of involvement in three recent deadly attacks on Israelis.

Israel has said such demolitions are punitive and can also serve as a deterrent to other potential attackers. Human rights groups have called the practice collective punishment.

No refuge

Regarding the hospital raid, Palestinian Health Minister Jawad Awad accused Israeli security forces of "executing" Abdallah al-Shalalda, who he said was escorting a relative inside the facility.

"The international community must intervene to protect our people from the Israeli killing machine," he said.

Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency issued a statement afterwards saying it "will not permit terror operatives to hide in any places of refuge."

The army said Azzam Shalalda carried out a stabbing in Gush Etzion in the West Bank last month. After stabbing an Israeli settler, he was shot by his victim but managed to escape.

Israel frequently carries out undercover operations in the occupied West Bank, with special forces who speak fluent Arabic dressed as locals. There was another raid on a hospital to detain a suspect last month.

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