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Israel Kills Palestinian Protester on West Bank

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian on Tuesday during a confrontation with a stone-throwing crowd in a flashpoint district of the occupied West Bank, both sides said.

The incident in Fuwar, near the city of Hebron, stoked tensions ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama next week that has been billed as a bid to encourage new peacemaking.

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers raided Fuwar and opened fire after coming under a barrage of rocks from local Palestinians. Hospital officials said a 25-year-old man died after being shot in the head and two others were wounded by the Israelis.

Citing the results of an initial investigation, an Israeli military spokeswoman said the troops had been attacked with fire-bombs on a nearby road and pursued the assailants into Fuwar, where they encountered the stone-throwers.

“Feeling a threat to their lives, they (the soldiers) fired toward the assaulters,” the spokeswoman said, confirming that a Palestinian was killed in the shooting.

Obama is expected to fly in on March 20 for separate talks with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, in the West Bank, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu and Abbas last held talks about internationally-backed plans for founding a Palestinian state alongside Israel in late 2010.

Palestinian frustration at the stalled diplomacy has been fanned by Israel’s expansion of West Bank settlements and a rift between Abbas’s administration the armed Hamas Islamists who run the Gaza Strip and reject coexistence with the Jewish state.

Palestinians have also taken to the streets to protest against Israel’s jailing of thousands of their countrymen. The resulting confrontations, often bloody, have drawn warnings on both sides that a full Palestinian revolt could be brewing.

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