Israeli forces kill a Palestinian near the separation barrier

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TEL AVIV, Israel – Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian on Sunday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said after the Israeli military said he had tried to illegally cross the barrier separating Israel and the occupied West Bank.

In a statement, the military said the soldiers saw the man “sabotage” the barrier outside the West Bank city of Kalkil and “try to cross into Israeli territory illegally”. Forces opened fire to stop him and shot him, the statement said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said forces had killed a man identified as Nabil Ahmed Salim Ghanem of the West Bank city of Nablus, near the barrier. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said he was 53 years old. No other details were immediately available.

Thousands of Palestinians are crossing into Israel from the West Bank illegally through holes in the barrier, much of which is a towering wall, but is also made up of fences that are prone to damage. Many work as day laborers and earn wages much higher than in the West Bank.

Although incidents such as Sunday are relatively rare, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian last month in similar circumstances.

Israelis have been heavily focused on the illegal entry of Palestinians in recent months after a series of attacks by Palestinians infiltrated Israel before committing mass killings. Authorities, who have long since closed their eyes, have promised to seal the drilled parts and replace the fences with concrete walls.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are also crossing into Israel legally, using hard-to-reach permits.

Israel says the barrier has helped stem a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks by Palestinians that infiltrated the country during the 2000-2005 uprising and is still needed to prevent deadly violence.

But the barrier has also repeatedly erupted in the West Bank, and Palestinians see it as an illegal seizure of land. The International Court of Justice said in 2004 that the barrier was “contrary to international law”.

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