Israeli troops kill three Palestinians in W Bank, Gaza

Jerusalem: Two Palestinian drivers tried but failed to run down Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank, with one attacker shot dead and the other wounded, Israeli officials said.

Troops later shot dead another man in clashes at a village northeast of the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian health officials said, naming him as Nashat Asfour, 33.

And a third Palestinian was killed yesterday, a traditional day of anti-occupation protest following weekly Muslim prayers, on the border with the Gaza Strip.

Near the village of Silwad, northwest of Ramallah, Mohammed Ayad, 20, was yesterday killed as he tried to steer his vehicle into a group of border police and soldiers entangled in a clash with Palestinians, police said.

Police said Israeli forces took cover behind a concrete barrier, escaping injury.

“They opened fire at the terrorist… He was declared dead at the scene,” it said in a statement.

In the Gaza Strip, soldiers shot dead a Palestinian protester and wounded another 41 people during clashes along the border with Israel, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, said the dead man, Mahmud al-Agha, 20, was one of its members.

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP that 31 of the wounded were hit by live fire and the other 10 by rubber bullets.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said troops opened fire during a “violent riot” by Palestinians close to the border fence, which is off-limits.

“A hundred rioters attempted to breach the buffer zone and damage the fence,” she told AFP.

“In order to prevent an escalation of violence and threat of infiltration, forces stationed along the border fired towards main instigators.”

In an unrelated event, the army said soldiers at the border discovered two bombs planted next to the fence, at the same spot where a charge was set off on Wednesday as a patrol passed by.

A wave of violence since the start of October has claimed the lives of 123 on the Palestinian side, and 17 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean.

Many of the Palestinians killed have been attackers, while others have been shot dead by Israeli security forces during clashes.