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Palestinian youths take cover behind a rubbish container as they clash with Israeli forces at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah near the Israeli settlement of Beit El on October 20, 2023, as battles continue between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. Image Credit: AFP

JENIN, Palestinian Territories: More than 100 Palestinians have been killed across the West Bank since war erupted between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas on October 7, the health ministry said Wednesday.

Violence had already spiralled in the West Bank before the Gaza war, with the highest death toll in the Palestinian territory since at least 2005.

Many of the Palestinian deaths came in raids by Israeli troops, but there has also been a rise in violence between Palestinians and Israeli settlers which has seen civilians as well as fighters killed on both sides.

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Since October 7, killings have surged in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, with the Palestinian death toll reaching 101 Palestinians, according to the Ramallah-based health ministry.

Over the same period, the Israeli military has reported one member of the security forces killed while taking part in a raid.

In the latest violence, three Palestinians were killed in Jenin and one in Qalqilya, both in the northern West Bank. One Palestinian was also killed in Qalandia, just north of Jerusalem.

The health ministry said they were killed by Israeli “bullets and missiles”.

The Israeli military said it launched a drone strike on “terrorists” in the densely populated Jenin refugee camp.

“Armed terrorists fired and hurled explosive devices at Israeli security forces” in the camp, an army statement said.

Soldiers also shot at “armed terrorists” in the nearby town of Bruqin, where forces also detained two people, according to the statement.

The military did not immediately comment on the deaths in Qalqilya and Qalandia, when contacted by AFP.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and withdrew from Gaza in 2005, subsequently imposing a crippling blockade on the coastal territory.

The latest and by far the deadliest Gaza war broke out when Hamas militants attacked Israel, killing more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and taking 222 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

The health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza says 5,791 people have been killed, again mostly civilians, as Israel has bombarded the territory.