Palestinians inspect the remains of a residential building in Rafah. Pics/AP
Israeli forces stormed into a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on Friday to arrest suspected Palestinian militants, unleashing fighting with local gunmen in which six Palestinians were killed, health officials said.
Among the dead were a 14-year-old boy and the founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, an armed offshoot of the secular nationalist Fatah party, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Thousands of men poured into the streets for their funeral, chanting with the bodies held aloft while masked militants opened fire into the air.
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Israeli undercover forces sneaked into the Faraa camp near the northern town of Tubas on Friday morning and set up sniper positions on top of buildings, residents said.
They described Israeli soldiers trading staccato gunfire with Palestinian militants and young boys throwing stones at armoured vehicles and setting tires on fire in the streets.
The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment on the operation, which follows a dramatic surge in deadly military raids and an increase in restrictions on Palestinian residents across the West Bank during the Israel-Hamas war.
Violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the territory has also reached record highs, according to the United Nations.
The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed 267 Palestinians in the West Bank since Hamas' cross-border attack in southern Israel on October 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and roughly 240 were taken hostage.
Most of the Palestinians were killed during shootouts in the West Bank that the Israeli military says began during operations to arrest Palestinian gunmen.
The Palestinian Prisoners' Club, an advocacy group, reported that Israeli forces raided several towns across the occupied territory early Friday, arresting 32 people, including two in the Faraa camp.
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