Palestinian gunman killed in Israeli raid in West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – At least one Palestinian gunman was killed in a raid by Israeli armed forces on the town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank late on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials and local residents said.

Israeli officials declined initially to comment on the incident which was under a military gag order. Jenin residents said shooting could still be heard in the early hours of Thursday morning.

A Palestinian health ministry official identified the man killed as Ahmed Jarrar, a Hamas militant and the son of a senior Hamas commander, Naser Jarrar, who was killed by Israeli forces in 2002.

Israeli troops have mounted a search for the killers of Rabbi Raziel Shevah, a resident of a settlement outpost near the Palestinian town of Nablus, who was shot in his car in a drive-by attack on Jan. 9.

Tensions in the region have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Dec. 6 in which he recognized disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and at least 18 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since then.

Trump’s reversal of decades of U.S. policy enraged Palestinians, who seek to create an independent state including Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally. It says the entire city is its eternal, indivisible capital.

Trump’s announcement sparked protests and violent clashes in the West Bank and along the Israel-Gaza border.

U.S.-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014. A bid by Trump’s administration to restart them has shown no real signs of progress. Vice President Mike Pence is due to visit the region from Jan. 20 to 23.