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Two Palestinians killed in West Bank as Israel intercepts flying object from Gaza

Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank on Monday as Israeli warplanes intercepted an object flying over the Gaza Strip.
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank on Monday as tensions remain high in the Palestinian territories. 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said that Mohammad Junaidi Abu Bakr and Mohammad Nasser Said al-Hallaq were killed by Israeli military gunfire during a raid in the city of Nablus. The Israeli forces conducted raids throughout the city and arrested two others, the PA’s official WAFA news agency reported. 

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed they conducted an operation in Nablus, saying they exchanged gunfire with armed assailants. The operation was in response to the March 25 shooting of two IDF soldiers in the West Bank town of Hawara. The IDF made arrests in Nablus, announced in a series of tweets. 

Meanwhile, IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee said that Israeli warplanes intercepted an “unknown air piece” over the Gaza Strip. The object did not enter Israeli airspace, he tweeted. 

Later on Monday, the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad claimed credit for shooting at the northern Israeli town of Ma’ale Gilboa. There were no casualties, according to The Times of Israel. 

Why it matters: Clashes between armed Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank are not uncommon, but there have been a particularly high number of incidents this year. Tensions have been particularly high since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in late December. 

The tensions are affecting Israeli politics, and could boil over during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Netanyahu said he fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant last week in response to the latter’s call for a halt to the government’s controversial judicial reform plans. However, Gallant has since remained in office. Israeli media reported on Monday that Netanyahu is delaying the firing due to security tensions with the Palestinians. 

Know more: Israel downed another flying object from Syria on Sunday. The incident followed several suspected Israeli strikes in Syria that killed Iranian military officers. Iran has vowed revenge for the deaths. 

Editor's note: this article was updated to include information on Islamic Jihad attacking a town in northern Israel. 

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