JENIN-An Israeli raid targeting alleged militants in a West Bank flashpoint killed four Palestinians Wednesday, including the brother of a man blamed for a deadly attack in Tel Aviv.

The violence was the latest to hit Jenin, in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, an area that has seen near daily clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen since an escalation that began in March. 

Jenin deputy governor Kamal Abu al-Rub told AFP that Wednesday’s raid was “the most violent that the occupation army has carried out since the start of the year”.

The Palestinian health ministry recorded four dead and 44 wounded by live fire in the latest Israeli operation. 

Among them was Abed Hazem, whose brother Raad was named as the killer of three Israelis in a shooting spree in Tel Aviv’s busy nightlife district in April.

Raad Hazem was shot dead after a massive Israeli manhunt. Israeli forces have been pursuing Abed and Raad’s father Fathi for months. 

The army only immediately confirmed two deaths during an operation it said targeted “two suspects involved in a number of recent shooting attacks”.

“While surrounding the residence in which both suspects were located, an explosive device detonated and the suspects opened fire toward the security forces. The security forces fired back according to standard operating procedures and the two suspects were both killed,” the army statement said, confirming Hazem as one of the men killed. 

Since March, Israel has launched hundreds of operations in the northern West Bank, including in Jenin and nearby Nablus, in pursuit of alleged militants.

The raids have sparked clashes that have killed dozens of Palestinians, including fighters.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967 but parts of the territory are nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with terms set out in the 1994 Oslo peace accords.