Israel-Hamas War Latest Updates: Blinken Heads to Middle East

Amid clashes in several neighborhoods in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces arrested at least 20 Palestinians and killed one person on Thursday, according to local news media outlets and a prominent Palestinian human rights group.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, a nongovernmental rights group, said in a statement that Israeli forces made the arrests in Nur Shams, a neighborhood near the city of Tulkarem. It said that Israeli forces had transferred more than 100 Palestinians to another area, and interrogated an estimated 500 people, including women and children.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said the operation in Nur Shams lasted more than 40 hours and “destroyed many explosives and detained dozens of terror suspects.”

Wafa Awwad, a journalist for the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, was among those arrested, his outlet and The Palestinian Prisoners Club said. Palestinian news media reported raids in Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin, among other locations in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health reported that Asid Jawad Bani Odeh, 29, was shot in the chest and killed during a raid by Israeli forces in Tamun, a village in the northern West Bank.

Photos from Nur Shams and Sir, a village near Jenin, showed residents in both sites assessing the damage from clashes on Thursday. They inspected scorched and crumbling buildings, and windows and walls punctuated by bullets.

Though the war between Israel and Hamas has been concentrated in the Gaza Strip since it began almost three months ago, violence has also surged in the West Bank. The Israeli military has carried out frequent raids across the West Bank, some of them deadly, and has made thousands of arrests. Violence between Palestinians and Israeli civilians in the area has escalated.

During a visit to the West Bank on Thursday, Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, said that the Israeli military would fight against terrorism wherever it encounters it.

“We are keeping our focus on removing the threat posed by Hamas, but we’re not forgetting that our goal is to remove terror threats from all of our borders,” he said, according to Israel’s N12 news channel.

He added that protecting Israeli settlements was a “central issue,” and that Israeli military forces have expanded their presence in the area.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war, are considered illegal by the United States and many other countries around the world. The United Nations and many Palestinians view the territory as part of a future Palestinian state, which the settlements have made steadily less tenable.

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government came into power a year ago, it approved permits for 13,000 new housing units and has pushed to expand settlements in the West Bank.

Settler violence against Palestinians was on the rise before the war and has escalated sharply since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched its attack on Israel. The Palestinian Health Ministry has said that 313 Palestinians have been killed across the West Bank since Oct. 7 in clashes with Israeli troops and armed extremist settlers.

On Wednesday, Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, condemned attacks on the West Bank on social media and warned that “everyone will pay the price” for failing to curb extremism.

“Igniting the West Bank and Lebanon is the goal of the extremist agenda in the Israeli government, which continues to destroy Gaza to prolong its political leadership and drag the West into a regional war,” he said.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club has said that arrests made in the West Bank have driven the number of Palestinians in Israel jails to a 14-year high. Many of those detained are being held without a charge or trial.

Talya Minsberg and Abu Bakr Bashir contributed translation.