JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli soldiers shot dead a West Bank teenager who threw Molotov cocktails at an army patrol, the army and Palestinian officials said Saturday.
The military said Israeli soldiers entered the village of Beit Umar, near Hebron, late Friday in an operation to stop fire bomb attacks on Israeli vehicles on a nearby highway.
The troops shot a militant who threw two molotov cocktails at them, a military spokesman said.
Palestinians said the shots killed Mohammed Alameh, 17, one of a group of youths who fought the soldiers.
The West Bank is not covered by a nine-day old truce between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. But on Tuesday, Islamic Jihad in Gaza fired three rockets into Israel in response to troops in the West Bank city of Nablus killing two Palestinians, one of them an Islamic Jihad commander.
Following Tuesday’s rocket attacks, Israel closed its crossings into Gaza, bringing food shipments to a halt, and they have remained shut since, although Israel has said it will not let a humanitarian crisis develop in the territory of 1.4 million Palestinians.
The truce worked out in months of Egyptian mediation began June 19 and is supposed to last initially for six months.
Hamas and an official of the Western-backed government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both restated support for the fragile cease fire on Saturday.
“We have made every effort to make the truce succeed,” Ahmed Qureia, Abbas’ chief negotiator with Israel told reporters after meeting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere in Ramallah. “We call on everybody to make the truce a success.”
Hamas Interior Minister Said Seyam said other major militant groups had agreed in advance to the armistice and must not break it unilaterally.
“We went into this truce based on consensus,” he said in remarks posted on pro-Hamas Web sites. “If we want to leave it we have to do that based on consensus too.”
A U.N. official said Friday that Israeli troops have violated the cease-fire by opening fire several times at Palestinians approaching the Gaza-Israel border fence. Two Palestinians were wounded in separate incidents this week, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because there has been no official announcement from the U.N.
The army said soldiers fired warning shots on several occasions to drive away people approaching the border, but it was unaware of any Palestinian casualties.
Troops will not allow anyone close to the volatile frontier, the military said. Militants, often dressed in civilian clothing, have planted bombs and attacked army positions along the fence in the past.