An Israeli military vehicle is stationed near the West Bank city of Tulkarem where two Palestinians were killed during clashes with Israeli forces on October 5, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in the West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said as the Israeli army reported soldiers were engaged in a shootout.

The health ministry said two men were killed by “occupation (Israeli) bullets near Tulkarem” in the northern West Bank. They were named as Abdul Rahman Atta, 23, and Huthaifa Faris, 27.

Israel’s military said a gunfight had erupted after soldiers identified a “suspicious vehicle” near Shufa village, in the Tulkarem area.

“Soldiers engaged and after exchanges of fire, the two terrorists were neutralised,” the military said.

The incident came after reports that an Israeli vehicle was shot at in the area, according to the army statement.

In recent months a surge in violence has hit the West Bank.

Israeli forces have launched a large number of raids and Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis have risen.

Israeli settlers have also launched an increasing number of attacks against Palestinians and their property.

So far this year at least 245 Palestinians, 32 Israelis and two foreigners have been killed in the conflict.

The fatalities include combatants and civilians on both sides, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.