An ambulance worker shows damages on an ambulance that were caused by bullets following a raid by Israeli forces, in Jenin, in the West Bank, December 8, 2022. Image Credit: REUTERS

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli forces killed three Palestinians during an early Thursday raid in the West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, the latest violence to shake the region after months of unrest.

The Israeli military said it was carrying out an arrest raid in the flashpoint city of Jenin in the northern West Bank when forces came under fire and then responded with live fire.

Jenin, and its adjacent refugee camp, are a stronghold for Palestinian militants and Israel has stepped up raids there in recent months.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that “confrontations and violent clashes” erupted between residents of Jenin and the Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Health Ministry did not disclose the men’s identity, and it was not immediately clear if they were affiliated with a militant group. Old photos circulating on social media showed two of the three Palestinians who were killed posing with rifles. Palestinian media also shared footage showing an ambulance hit by Israeli gunshots in Jenin.

Palestinian factions in the city called for a general strike to mourn the dead and show solidarity with their families.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian militant who opened fire at them near the West Bank colony of Ofra.

More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006.

The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting Israeli army incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

Israel has been conducting daily arrest raids throughout the West Bank, in an operation prompted by a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the spring.

At least 30 people have died in Palestinian attacks in Israel and the occupied West Bank this year.