July 18, 2024

Palestinian teen killed as West Bank violence surges

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Israeli troops killed a Palestinian teenager near the West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday, the Palestinian health ministry said, as violence surged in the occupied territory.

In the southern West Bank, troops made two arrests following the deadly shooting on Monday of an Israeli settler near the city of Hebron.

“Othman Mohammed Abu Khurog, 17, died after he was shot in the head by the occupation (Israeli forces),” the Palestinian health ministry said.

Abu Khurog was killed when clashes erupted in the small town of Zababdeh, southeast of Jenin, which Israeli forces had entered to make an arrest, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The Israeli army said troops opened fire after “explosive devices” were thrown at them. “A hit was identified,” it said in a statement.

Mourners in Zababdeh later carried the teenager’s body through the streets at his funeral.

Israel’s security cabinet convened on Tuesday and announced it had “made a series of decisions to strike at the terrorists and whoever dispatches them”.

Soldiers routinely carry out incursions into areas such as Jenin which are nominally under the civil and security control of president Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

In July, the army carried out its biggest raid in years on the Jenin refugee camp, in which 12 Palestinians, including militants and children, were killed.

An Israeli soldier also died during the raid, and on Tuesday the army said David Yehuda Yizhak had been shot dead by his own comrades “following an incident of mistaken identification”.

Violence in the West Bank has been rising.

On Monday, Israeli settler Batsheva Nigri was shot dead from a passing vehicle while she was in a car near Hebron with her daughter and a man.

Her daughter was unhurt but the man was seriously wounded, the army and medics said.

  • Escalating violence –

Two Palestinian residents of Hebron suspected of taking part in the shooting were arrested on Tuesday as troops pressed their manhunt for the woman’s killers, the army said.

“During their initial questioning, the two linked themselves to carrying out the attack,” the army alleged, adding that they had turned in a weapon believed to have been used in the attack.

Nigri was a teacher and resident of Beit Hagai, an Israeli settlement south of Hebron.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, called her killing a “heroic act” and a “normal response” to the persistent expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, but not counting annexed east Jerusalem, around 490,000 Israelis live in such communities alongside nearly three million Palestinians.

Nigri’s murder came two days after an Israeli father and son were shot dead at a car wash in the town of Huwara in the northern West Bank.

Israel has yet to make any arrests in those killings despite troops raiding villages and carrying out house-to-house searches.

The West Bank has been rocked by violence since early last year, with a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, repeated deadly raids by the army and violence by settlers against Palestinian communities.

With the latest death, at least 219 Palestinians have been killed in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far this year.

The violence has also claimed the lives of 31 Israelis, including the soldier killed by friendly fire in Jenin, a Ukrainian and an Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

by Zain Jaafar

©️ Agence France-Presse

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