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Undercover Israeli agents stage raid on Palestinian hospital

Hazem Bader, AFP | A Palestinian doctor shows a bullet hole in the wall at al-Ahli hospital in Hebron after a raid by Israeli forces on November 12, 2015

Undercover Israeli agents pretending to need medical assistance raided a West Bank hospital overnight, apprehending a suspect wanted in connection with a knife attack, but not before killing a relative who was visiting him.

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Health officials said around 20 agents pretending to be Palestinians participated in the raid targeting suspect Azzam Shalaldeh in a hospital in Hebron where he was being treated for gunshot wounds.

A surveillance video that was shared with news outlets and posted online shows around two dozen men, wearing traditional Palestinian scarves and what are likely fake beards, roll someone into the hospital on a wheelchair.

They are accompanied by what appear to be two women, one wearing a niqab, a body-length Muslim veil, and one who appears to be pregnant, holding her lower back with her hand.

Bilal Shalaldeh, Shalaldeh's brother, told the AFP news agency that he was in the room at the time of the raid, which occurred around 3 a.m.

"They arrested my brother and tied me up," he was quoted as saying. "My cousin was in the bathroom and when he opened the bathroom door, and without any warning or any words, they shot at him five times."

Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency confirmed the incident in a statement, but claimed the man who was shot dead tried to attack the troops, and would not say if undercover forces were behind the deadly raid.

The agency alleged that Shalaldeh, 20, is "from a family of Hamas militants" and was behind an October 25 stabbing that wounded an Israeli near the Mezad settlement around Hebron.

Surge in violence

Hebron, a volatile city in the southern West Bank, has been a frequent flashpoint of violence during weeks of Israel-Palestinian unrest.

The raid comes after a nearly two month-long surge of deadly hostility in which 78 Palestinians have been killed, and which shows no signs of abating.

Israel claims the majority of Palestinians killed were attackers, with the remainder killed in clashes with security forces.

Twelve Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.

The violence erupted in Jerusalem over tensions surrounding a holy site sacred to both Jews and Muslims and quickly spread throughout Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Hebron, the largest West Bank city, has been the scene of much of the recent violence.

Several hundred Jewish settlers live in fortified enclaves in the city, amid tens of thousands of Palestinians.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

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