Five Palestinians killed in deadly West Bank incidents

  • Latest incidents are part of series of deadly clashes
  • Israeli military cracking down on protesters, militants
  • Crackdown follows attacks earlier this year in Israel

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed five Palestinians, including a driver who had apparently rammed into a soldier, in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said, the latest casualties in violence that has spiralled for months.

Four people, including two brothers, were shot and killed during clashes with Israeli forces near Ramallah and Hebron, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The Israeli military said a female soldier was wounded in a ramming attack around Kochav Yaakov settlement near Ramallah. The suspected Palestinian attacker was shot by police and later confirmed dead by a Jerusalem hospital.

Footage circulating on social media showed a car turning around at a junction and speeding toward a soldier who was walking on a pavement.

Israel has cracked down on militants across the West Bank in near-daily raids that have often ended in deadly clashes, following a series of fatal street attacks by Palestinians in Israel earlier this year.

Tuesday's clashes began when two Israeli military vehicles stalled outside Beit Ummar during what the army called routine activity and troops opened fire when protesters shot at them and hurled rocks and petrol bombs, the military said.

The incidents near Ramallah appeared similar, with troops firing on Palestinians throwing stones and petrol bombs. An Israeli soldier was lightly injured in the clashes, the military said.

In Ramallah, hundreds gathered outside a hospital to pay their respects to the family of the two brothers, both in their early twenties.

"They are my children," the father was heard saying through tears as he embraced his dead sons in a video on social media.

Senior Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh, in a tweet, called their killing an "execution in cold blood".

The Palestinian health ministry said 205 Palestinians have been killed this year, including those who died during a brief conflict in Gaza in August. They include militants and civilians.

At the same time, 23 civilians and eight security personnel have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank.

On Friday, incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named far-rightist Itamar Ben-Gvir as national security minister with powers over West Bank policing under a coalition deal being worked out to form a new government.

Additional reporting by Emily Rose, Henriette Chacar and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by James Mackenzie, Nick Macfie, Gareth Jones and Bernadette Baum

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