JERUSALEM — At least 10 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others wounded, Palestinian officials said, in a gun battle between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinian groups in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday. The firefight occurred during an operation to arrest Palestinian gunmen based in the city of Nablus, the Israeli military said.
Some of the victims were reported to be gunmen but others appeared to be unarmed: Time-stamped CCTV footage from late Wednesday morning that circulated on social media seemed to show the shooting of at least two unarmed Palestinians as they ran away from gunfire. Asked for comment, the Israeli military said that it was looking into the video, and in a separate statement acknowledged that it had “neutralized” three gunmen.
The deaths brought the number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank since the start of the year to nearly 60, most of them during shootouts that the Israeli military says began during operations to arrest Palestinian gunmen.
That death toll marks the deadliest start to a year for Palestinians in the West Bank in the past decade and a half, prompting comparisons with events at the start of this century, when a Palestinian insurgency, known as the second intifada, left roughly 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis dead.
At least 11 Israelis have also been killed by Palestinians since the start of the year, including seven in a mass shooting on Jan. 27 by a Palestinian attacker in East Jerusalem — the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.
A spokesman for the Israeli Army said that it was operating in Nablus to arrest people suspected of planning more imminent attacks and of shooting dead an Israeli soldier last October while he was patrolling a nearby part of the northern West Bank.