Middle East

Israeli troops kill Palestinian in West Bank clashes

From left: Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach Image copyright other
Image caption The three teenagers disappeared while hitchhiking home

Israeli soldiers have shot dead a Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian officials say.

They say the troops - who were searching for three Israeli teenagers believed seized in the West Bank last week - fired on stone-throwing crowds.

He would be the third Palestinian to have died in clashes with Israeli troops searching for the students.

Another Palestinian was reportedly killed in separate clashes in Ramallah. Israel says it is checking the reports.

Israel accuses Hamas militants of seizing the teenagers, who went missing on 12 June. The Israeli search has been accompanied by a crackdown on Palestinians linked to the group.

In a separate development, Israeli fighter jets hit several targets in the southern Gaza Strip late on Saturday, following rocket fire into southern Israel, officials say.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it would "not tolerate attempts to harm Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers, and will act against anyone who operates terror against Israel".

There were no reports of any casualties.

'Tough punishment'

The man shot in Nablus was named by the Palestinian security officials and medics as 26-year-old Ahmad Fahnawi.

Israeli officials said he had approached soldiers in a "threatening manner". His family said he had been undergoing treatment for mental illness.

Palestinian medics were also quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that a 30-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead overnight in Ramallah in a separate incident.

No more details of the clashes were immediately known.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested since the Israeli search began.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of using the teenagers' disappearance as "a pretext to impose tough punishment against our people and besiege them".

The Israeli military says it has searched more than 1,000 sites in the hunt for the students.

Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, who are both 16, and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach went missing at a junction near the city of Hebron as they hitchhiked their way home. Naftali Frenkel holds US-Israeli citizenship.

Earlier this week, the Israeli police revealed that one of the students had alerted them by phone, minutes after being kidnapped.

However, no action was taken over the call for five hours because the police thought it was a prank.