| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Palestinian man killed in West Bank in Israeli settler raid

Israeli settlers stormed two Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank late Saturday, murdering one man and torching a car, according to Palestinian authorities.

According to the Palestinian ambulance service, a 38-year-old man was shot in the chest and killed in the northern West Bank town of Qarawat Bani Hassan after people clashed with settlers and Israeli forces.

The Israeli military said soldiers arrived at the scene and used riot dispersal means and live fire to break up the confrontation between residents and settlers. It said Palestinians shot fireworks in response and an Israeli and four Palestinians were injured. The incident was being examined and had been handed over to police, it said.

In another incident, Wajih Al-Qat, head of the local council of the village of Madama near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, said a group of about 15 settlers burned the car and broke the windows of a house with stones.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the incident.

The attacks are the latest in a series of similar incidents involving settlers that have drawn condemnation from world leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration is set to impose visa bans on extremist settlers.

The West Bank, which the Palestinians want as part of a future independent state, has seen a surge of violence in recent months as Jewish settlements have continued to expand and U.S.-backed peacemaking efforts have stalled for nearly a decade.

The violence, at a more-than-15-year high this year, surged further after Israel launched an invasion of the separate enclave of Gaza in response to the deadly attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Yesh Din, a human rights group that monitors settler violence, said there had been at least 225 incidents of settler violence in 93 Palestinian communities since the war started.

Prior to Saturday’s incident, it said at least nine Palestinians had been killed in such attacks.

In a separate incident near Nablus, Palestinian authorities said a 14-year-old boy died of his wounds after he was shot during an incident in which the Israeli military said he brandished a knife at soldiers on a checkpoint.

  • Reuters