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Two Palestinians Killed as West Bank Violence Continues

FILE - Map showing West Bank, which has seen escalating violence
FILE - Map showing West Bank, which has seen escalating violence

An Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian man on Friday in the occupied West Bank who the Israeli military said was planning an attack, and soldiers killed a teenager during clashes there, Palestinian health officials said.

The Israeli military said soldiers opened fire at a suspect who threw a firebomb at them at close range near the city of Qalqilya, hours after the Israeli settler fired at a Palestinian man armed with knives and explosive devices nearby.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed a 16-year-old had been killed by Israeli forces and that earlier a 21-year-old man was killed by a settler.

The West Bank has been tense for months, with near-daily military raids and escalating settler violence in the West Bank amid a spate of attacks by Palestinians.

Over the past year, Israeli forces have made thousands of arrests in the West Bank and killed more than 200 Palestinians, including fighters and civilians. More than 40 Israelis have died in attacks by Palestinians over the same period.

Relatives of the man killed by a settler told Reuters he was religious but were not aware of any membership in Palestinian militant groups. They said the military was still withholding his body.

On Thursday, a Hamas gunman opened fire in Tel Aviv, wounding three people, one of them critically, before being killed by police and passersby. The Islamist militant group said the attack was a response to Israel's killing of three Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank earlier that day.

The Israeli military said it arrested two relatives of the Hamas gunman on Friday and had made initial preparations to demolish his home.

Israel says such demolitions are meant to deter potential Palestinian assailants. Palestinians and rights groups condemn the policy as collective punishment.

U.S.-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have been frozen for almost a decade and show little prospect of revival.

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    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.