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Nablus — Israeli forces killed two Palestinian fighters in a predawn clash in the West Bank on Sunday and, off the coast of the Gaza Strip, attacked a fishing boat accused of smuggling in Hamas supplies from Egypt after its two crewmen escaped.
The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militant group claimed the two Palestinians slain at a house in Nablus as its members. The Palestinian Health Ministry said six others were wounded.
Israeli security forces on an apparent arrest raid outside the house of a wanted suspect came under fire by gunmen and “responded with live fire and other means until neutralising the terrorists inside the house and on its roof,” police said.
A neighbour, Naser Estitya, said he heard gunshots from inside the house before the Israelis fired at the house. “They were calling the name of one person, asking him to surrender,” he said.
Photos from the scene showed part of the wall at the top floor had been destroyed.
“Another crime committed by the occupation forces in the old city of #Nablus, where martyrs have fallen and many wounded,” Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official, said on Twitter. “We strongly condemn this crime, and we hold the occupation responsibility for its repercussions.”
US-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza collapsed in 2014 and have shown no sign of revival.
Israeli forces have stepped up raids in recent months in the West Bank after men from the area carried out deadly street attacks in Israel. The Western-backed Palestinian Authority regularly condemns such incursions.
Separately, the Palestinian fishermen's union said two crew members dove into Mediterranean waters and swam to safety before the Israeli navy fired on their boat. A picture circulated on social media showed black smoke rising close to the Gaza coast.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the state can revoke the citizenship of people who carry out actions that constitute a breach of trust against the state, including terrorism, espionage or treason.
The ruling addressed a 2008 Citizenship Law in Israel that gives the state authority to revoke citizenship based on actions that constitute a “breach of loyalty”.
It came following separate appeals in the cases of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who were convicted of carrying out attacks that killed Israeli citizens. The two were handed long sentences but the state sought to strip them of citizenship.
The Supreme Court denied the removal of citizenship in these two cases based on “serious procedural flaws” but ruled that the practice itself was constitutional, even if a person became stateless as a result.
It said in such cases, the interior minister would have to grant permanent residency.
A joint statement in response to the ruling by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah, an Arab rights group, called the law discriminatory and said it “will likely be used exclusively against Palestinian citizens of Israel”.
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