HEBRON, West Bank, Nov 12: Israeli undercover forces raided a hospital in the West Bank on Thursday and shot dead a Palestinian during an operation to detain another man suspected of carrying out a stabbing, the Palestinian health ministry and doctors said.
The Israeli army confirmed the raid and said they had detained Abdallah Azzam Al Shalalda, 27, who was suspected of stabbing an Israeli settler near the West Bank city of Hebron two weeks ago.
The director of Hebron’s Al Ahly hospital, Jehad Shawar, told Palestine radio that 20-30 men had arrived at the clinic in two mini vans. They entered with someone pretending to be pregnant. CCTV footage showed them walking along a corridor.
“They held the staff at gunpoint and stormed the room of Shalalda,” Shawar said.
Shalalda’s brother Bilal, who was asleep in vigil alongside him, said he was tied to the bed by the Israeli forces.
His cousin, who was in the bathroom, was shot dead when he suddenly entered the room, Shawar said.
“As his brother exited the bathroom, which was inside the room, they fired five bullets, one bullet in the head, one in the chest and three in his body,” Shawar told the radio station.
“They took Shalalda and placed him in the wheelchair they brought the woman in and they exited the room preventing anyone from giving medical aid to the young man laid on the floor.”
The Israeli army confirmed that a man who tried to attack the operatives during the raid had been shot but did not have details of his condition.
Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency issued a statement afterwards saying “it will not permit terror operatives to hide in any places of refuge.”
Shalalda’s brother, Bilal, told Reuters TV: “As soon they entered the room they tied me to the bed. (My cousin) was inside the bathroom and wanted to wash for prayer. As he was exiting the bathroom, one of the under cover men shouted at him to stop and they opened fire.
“He remained on the ground bleeding and they hit my brother on his head and took him away.”
Shalalda carried out a stabbing in Gush Etzion in the West Bank last month, the army said. After stabbing an Israeli settler, he was shot by his victim but managed to escape.
A military spokeswoman said he and his family, including the cousin, were known Hamas operatives.
Israel frequently carries out undercover operations in the occupied West Bank, with special forces who speak fluent Arabic dressed as locals. There was another raid on a hospital to detain a suspect last month.
There has been a wave of violence across Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank since Oct. 1, with 12 Israelis stabbed, shot or killed in vehicle attacks by Palestinians.
Seventy-six Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli security forces, including 44 people Israeli police said were carrying out or about to carry out attacks.
The violence has in part been fuelled by an increase in Jewish visits to a site in Jerusalem’s walled Old City that is holy to both Muslims and Jews.