(Ramallah) Two Palestinians who were members of a local armed group were killed on Saturday by Israeli soldiers in Tulkarem, in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources said, with the Israeli army saying they acted in retaliation for a recent attack on a settlement.

“Two martyrs, killed by occupation [Israeli forces], were taken to the Thabet Thabet government hospital in the city of Tulkarem” in the northwestern Palestinian territory, the health ministry wrote in a statement. a statement.

He later said that the two dead men, Hamza Khrewish and Samer al-Shafei, were 22 years old, and added that a third person had been injured.

According to the IDF, they were “involved in the shooting attack [Tuesday] in Avnei Hefetz,” a settlement in the West Bank. “An Israeli civilian was injured” in that attack, she added.

During the operation on Saturday morning, “the two armed men were killed as they tried to flee,” the army said, adding that two other people had been arrested. Firearms and combat gear were seized, she said.

The Tulkarem Brigade, a local group linked to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said the two Palestinians killed were among its members, and claimed responsibility for the attack. against the settlement of Avnei Hefetz.

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people attended their funeral, carrying the remains wrapped in the Palestinian flag through the streets of central Tulkarem, an AFP journalist noted.

A general strike was also observed in the governorate of Tulkarem at the call of the local authorities.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has seen a wave of increased violence since January.

During an operation in Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday, Israeli forces killed three Palestinian Hamas fighters accused of involvement in the shooting deaths last month of three British-Israeli residents of the colony of Efrat.

During the same day, in Huwara, south of Nablus, a 26-year-old Palestinian woman who stabbed an Israeli soldier was shot dead by the Israeli army.

In this context, the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the year stands at 108. Nineteen Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian were killed during the same period, according to an AFP tally established from official Israeli and Palestinian sources.

These statistics include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.