Israeli forces disguised as locals have killed a Palestinian man and arrested an alleged knife attacker in a raid on a West Bank hospital. Palestinian officials called the raid a violation of international law
At least 20 Israeli undercover forces dressed as local Palestinians raided the Al-Ahli hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, killing a Palestinian man and arresting a suspected knife attacker.
Jihad Shawar, the director of the hospital, said the disguised Israelis, including one woman pretending to be in labor, barged into the hospital's surgical unit, where they stormed the room where suspected knife attacker Azzam Shalalda, 27, was being treated for gunshot wounds.
"They held the staff at gunpoint and stormed the room of Shalalda," Shawar told Palestinian radio.
"This is an outright crime. This is against international law. No one should violate hospitals, but Israel did," Shawar said.
Israeli forces arrested Shalalda and handcuffed his brother who was in the room, then shot and killed another brother as he came out of the bathroom attached to the room.
"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.
CCTV footage from the hospital showed the disguised Israel forces storming the hallway and later taking Shalalda away in a wheelchair.
'Known Hamas operatives'
Israel's security service confirmed the raid on what it described as "known Hamas operatives."
The Israeli military said the raid targeted Shalalda, who they allege, was shot and wounded after a knife attack two weeks ago on a settler near the West Bank city of Hebron.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement that "it will not permit terror operatives to hide in any places of refuge."
Israeli authorities did not confirm its forces were disguised or the condition of the brother who was shot.
Israel regularly carries out undercover operations in the West Bank with forces that speak fluent Arabic and dress as locals. Last month Israeli forces carried out a raid on another hospital, and video footage has revealed undercover agents among Palestinian protestors.
12 Israelis, 78 Palestinians killed
The raid comes as Israeli security forces struggle to respond to nearly two months of Palestinian knife attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces, as well as protests against Israeli occupation.
Twelve Israelis have been killed in the attacks while Israeli forces have killed 78 Palestinians, 50 of which Israel claims were knife attackers.
Hebron, with a population of 200,000 Palestinians and 500 Israeli settlers living in the center protected by the army, has become a flashpoint for protests and attacks.
The latest round of violence between Palestinians and Israelis was triggered by unrest at the al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. The shrine is revered by both Muslims and Jews.
The violence has been compounded by continued frustration by Palestinians at a dead peace process and occupation of their lands by settlers in violation of international law.
Israel has accused Palestinian political and religious leaders of fomenting the violence.
cw/jil (AP, Reuters)