Israeli forces kill man in West Bank clashes

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – The Palestinian Ministry of Health said Israeli forces killed a Palestinian on Saturday evening during clashes in the occupied West Bank.

Also on Saturday evening, Israeli planes struck several militant sites in the Gaza Strip in response to incendiary balloons launched by Palestinians from the territory into Israeli farmland across the border, the military said. Local media reported that a Palestinian was seriously injured in the airstrikes.

The ministry identified the man killed as Mohammad Fareed Hassan, 20, from the village of Qusra near the city of Nablus.

The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that Hassan was shot in the chest as residents clashed with settlers who stormed the village from a nearby settlement. He said Israeli troops were accompanying the settlers.

Palestinians have staged weekly protests against the expansion of Israeli settlements in several locations in the West Bank.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, and the Palestinians want it to be the main part of their future state.

Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 130 authorized settlements and dozens of outposts across the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians and much of the international community view all settlements as a violation of international law and an obstacle to peace.

In Gaza, the IDF said the airstrikes targeted a weapons production site and a rocket launcher belonging to Hamas, the militant group ruling in the Palestinian enclave. Hamas and Israel have waged four deadly wars since the Islamic militant group seized Gaza in 2007, the last of them for 11 days in May.

Hamas-linked activists threw incendiary balloons to pressure Israel to relax its blockade on the territory. Hamas says Israel withdrew from previous unofficial agreements to allow Qatari cash aid to impoverished Gaza and reinstated restrictions at Gaza trade crossings.

Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations mediators have worked to consolidate the fragile ceasefire.

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