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Israel army says killed top militant in West Bank strike

The Israeli army said it killed a top Palestinian militant in an air strike in the occupied West Bank early Wednesday, averting a “terrorist attack” he was planning. Ahmed Abdullah Abu Shalal had been responsible for a “number of terrorist attacks” over the past year, including one in annexed east Jerusalem, the army said. He was “eliminated in a precision air strike,” it said in a statement that had a video link showing the strike on a vehicle. The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said the body of an “unidentified martyr killed by the occupation (Israel) in a bombing of a vehicle” had been received by a hospital in Nablus. The army said Abu Shalal was killed following intelligence “of his cell’s intentions of carrying out an imminent terrorist attack”. The army did not offer details, but said he was responsible for carrying out a shooting in the Shimon HaTzadik neighbourhood of east Jerusalem in April last year in which two residents were wounded. Abu Shalal was also responsible for a bomb attack on Israeli troops in October in which one soldier was wounded. The army did not specify where the soldiers were targeted. “Under Abdullah’s leadership, the terrorist infrastructure in the Balata (refugee) camp in Nablus has received funding and guidance from Iranian sources,” the army claimed. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza on October 7, the West Bank has experienced a level of violence not seen since the second Palestinian uprising or intifada between 2000 and 2005. Israeli army raids and attacks by settlers have killed around 350 people in the territory, according to an AFP tally based on sources from both sides.

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