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Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:02 UK

Third death in West Bank clashes

Relatives mourn Abdul Qadir Zeit at his funeral on Wednesday
Relatives of the first fatality denied he was involved in petrol-bombing settlers

Palestinian medical workers say Israeli troops have shot dead a Palestinian man in a confrontation near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The army said he was in a group of three people in Kufr Malik village, one of whom was carrying a firebomb.

Another Palestinian man died overnight after being critically wounded in a clash near a Jewish settlement.

The shooting happened during a protest about another killing on Tuesday of a teenager - also an alleged firebomber.

In the latest incident, Aziz Beerat, 20, was killed when Israeli soldiers in a jeep opened fire in Kufr Malik village, north-east of Ramallah, Palestinian emergency services said.

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Another man was in a serious condition in hospital after being shot in the back.

The Israeli military said troops saw the silhouettes of three Palestinians preparing to throw petrol bombs and that the men ignored an order to surrender.

The three deaths were the first from Israeli military action in the West Bank for several weeks, prompting a Palestinian official to protest against what he described as an escalation.

"It looks as if the Israeli army has received instructions to carry out an escalation in the Palestinian territories," said negotiator Saeb Erekat, in comments reported by AFP news agency.

The army says there has been wave of firebombings around the Ramallah area and it has been stepping up efforts to stop them.

Firebomb denial

On Wednesday, 21-year-old Muhammad Rahami was fatally wounded during a protest near Jalazun refugee camp. Israeli police said Palestinians had thrown rocks at an army post.

The protest followed the funeral of Abdul Qadir Zeit, 17, killed by troops late on Tuesday near the Beit-El settlement, which is adjacent to Jalazun, deep in the West Bank beyond the barrier Israel is building in and around the territory. The army said he had been carrying a petrol bomb.

A BBC correspondent who visited Jalazun reported that local residents said the teenager was killed while walking alone on a road that passes the settlement on the way to the camp.

They said youths do sometimes throw rocks at passing cars belonging to Israeli settlers, but Abdul Qadir Zeit had never participated. They also denied that any firebombs had been thrown in recent days.

Correspondents say tension between Israeli settlers and local Palestinians have peaked in recent days, with each side complaining of violent attacks by the other.

Israel has settled about 450,000 of its citizens in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since it occupied the areas in 1967.

Settlements, which are heavily guarded by the Israeli army, are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.


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