The growing violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank shows no sign of slowing down after Israeli troops killed three more Palestinians on Sunday.
The killing is likely to further escalate a wave of violence in which two other people, including a young Palestinian man, were killed by extremist Jewish settlers, were killed in fighting over the weekend.
The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the deaths of three "young men by occupation (Israeli) bullets" in the incident near the town of Arraba in the Jenin area.
Deputy governor of Jenin Kamal Abu Al-Roub told AFP the Israeli army had "taken the car and the bodies."
"The car had an Israeli license plate," he said.
The Israeli army, on the other hand, said it shot the three men near the Jenin refugee camp – the site of a large-scale military operation last month.
It claimed that the three men had just exited the camp and were allegedly on their way to carry out an attack, without providing further details.
Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both condemned the killings.
An official statement from the Islamic Jihad claimed one of the dead as its member and said another was a 15-year-old boy. Palestinian medics said the bodies were being held by Israeli forces.
"The enemy, which assassinated three of our Palestinian people, will not escape paying the price of its crimes," said Hazem Qassem, a spokesperson for Hamas.
Islamic Jihad also vowed revenge. "The enemy will realize that its foolishness and terrorism will be met by a strong response from the resistance," its spokesperson Tareq Selmaa said in a statement.
The Jenin camp is often alleged to be a stronghold for Palestinian armed groups. Last month, the Israeli military carried out a two-day offensive in the camp, killing 12 Palestinians, and causing widespread damage to the densely populated area. An Israeli soldier also was killed in the operation.
Ultranationalist West Bank settler leaders and other allies with close ties to the settler movement dominate the Israeli government. A growing number of Israeli voices have said their presence in the government has worsened the tense atmosphere by emboldening young militant settlers to attack Palestinians.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported Sunday that Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, recently warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that settler violence was becoming a strategic threat and raising the likelihood of retaliatory Palestinian attacks. The report drew angry condemnations from leading members of the government.
The report said that Bar issued his warning before a Friday night incident in which armed settlers stormed into a Palestinian village and killed a Palestinian youth.
Two Israeli settlers have been arrested for the shooting of 19-year-old Qusai Matan in the village of Burqa.
The army said the Israeli settlers arrived in the area to herd sheep, leading to clashes between Israelis and Palestinians from the village. Israeli media reported that one of the suspects in the incident, Elisha Yered, was a former aide to an ultranationalist lawmaker in the "Jewish Power” party, one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s key coalition partners.
The shooting is part of an escalation of settler attacks on Palestinian civilians in recent months, and several Israeli commentators warned Sunday that assailants felt emboldened by fellow ultranationalists in key positions in government.
In the right-leaning Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom, pundit Yoav Limor wrote that there are "armed Jewish militias that are operating like terrorist groups."
He warned that if Israel "did not come to its senses" and stopped them immediately, the settlers could inflict serious damage.
However, leading politicians in the Israeli government lashed out at the criticism, with far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a settler leader who leads an ultranationalist faction in the government, labeling Jewish settlers confronting Palestinians as heroes.
Tally Gotliv, a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, said a "leftist agenda" and "deep state" have infiltrated the Shin Bet.
Violence has spiraled in the occupied West Bank amid daily arrest raids by the Israeli military, growing attacks by extremist Jewish settlers and retaliatory attacks by Palestinian groups.
The surge in fighting is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in nearly two decades. More than 211 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to a tally by The AFP.
At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis this year.
Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.
Excluding annexed East Jerusalem, the West Bank is home to nearly 3 million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.