Israeli soldiers kill several Palestinians in West Bank

At least 16 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, taking the death toll to nearly 50 since Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry announced, as protests continue against Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Demonstrations took place in cities across the Israeli-occupied territory on Friday, including Ramallah, Tulkarem, Nablus and Hebron, hours after Israel ordered residents in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes ahead of an expected ground invasion.

At least three people were killed in the town of Tulkarem, and a 14-year-old boy was killed in Beit Furik, near Nablus, according to the AFP news agency. The news outlet dpa reported that Israeli settlers, alongside soldiers, took part in some confrontations with Palestinian protesters.

At least 51 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since Saturday, according to the health ministry.

The killings come amid rising tensions in the occupied West Bank, as Israel carries out a crushing campaign of air strikes on Gaza ahead of an expected ground assault against the Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza. Hamas fighters carried out a lightning attack in southern Israel on Saturday that killed at least 1,300 people.

The United Nations has said that such a large-scale evacuation, carried out under constant Israeli bombing, is “impossible”, would have “devastating humanitarian consequences” and has called on the order to be rescinded.

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced earlier this week that his ministry was purchasing 10,000 assault rifles for distribution to Israelis, including those living in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Footage from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem appears to show an incident in which an Israeli settler shoots a Palestinian man near at-Tuwani close to south Hebron at point blank, as an Israeli soldier stands nearby.

On Thursday, a Palestinian man and his son were shot and killed when settlers opened fire on a funeral taking place for several Palestinians killed in a separate settler attack the previous day.

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