Medical officials and militant groups have confirmed that Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian fighter during a raid. This incident triggered clashes in the volatile city of Jenin within the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian health ministry said one of its staff, a woman, was also shot and wounded by Israeli gunfire.
Relatives of Mustafa Qonboa said the 32-year-old was a senior operative with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement
The Israeli military said soldiers shot back after coming under fire during an operation to arrest suspected members of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad faction, and a soldier was wounded. A gun and a dozen bombs were also seized, the military statement said.
Israeli forces blew up a house belonging to the dead man’s family and damaged a bakery on the ground floor, witnesses said.
An image of Qonboa as a child appearing to run away from an Israeli tank during Israel’s 2002 incursion in the area went viral on social media following news of his death.
It was contrasted with a more recent one of him holding two assault rifles as Palestinians lamented worsening conditions under decades of military rule.
Hundreds of Palestinians, including gunmen firing their rifles into the air, marched in Qonboa’s funeral on Thursday.
“They blew up our house,” said Basima Qonboa, his mother, as she struggled to breathe. “I was looking for (my son) but (the
young men) said he wasn’t there with them. I asked them to check under the rubble and they told me he was dead”
A bakery worker said Israeli soldiers began firing at the house as soon as they got out of the civilian vehicles they arrived in, without warning Qonboa or members of his family to leave.
Violence in the West Bank has worsened over the past 15 months with stepped-up Israeli raids, Palestinian street attacks, and assaults by Jewish settlers on Palestinian villages.
Jenin, a city in the northern Israeli-occupied West Bank, houses a crowded refugee camp by the same name with a population of some 14,000 descendants of Palestinians dispossessed at the time of Israel’s creation in 1948. Over the years, it has emerged as a traditional hub of Palestinian resistance to Israel, housing several militant groups.
In July, Israeli forces hit the city with drone strikes during one of the biggest incursions in the West Bank in 20 years, killing at least eight people.
Israel occupied the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of a future independent state, in the 1967 Middle East war. It has since settled the territory, a move most countries deem as illegal, as collapsed statehood talks show no sign of revival.