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Palestinian killed in West Bank village attacked by Israelis

#Palestinian #killed #West #Bank #village #attacked #Israelis

A Palestinian man was killed Wednesday in an occupied West Bank village, as Israelis attacked residents and property in escalating violence.

The reprisals came hours after mourners held a funeral for a teenager killed in a Palestinian shooting targeting Israelis nearby, while Palestinians buried a girl killed in an Israeli raid.

“A martyr arrived at the Palestine Medical Complex from Turmus Ayya after being shot in the chest,” a Palestinian health ministry statement said.

Lafi Adeeb, Turmus Ayya mayor, told AFP that 35 houses were damaged, around 50 cars torched and farmland set ablaze.

“We in Turmus Ayya are targeted —  after day after day — by the aggressive (settler) outposts that were established here,” he told AFP.

He and another resident put the number of Israelis involved in the attack between 200 and 300, while AFP journalists in the village saw scorched homes, buildings and wounded people being evacuated by ambulance.

“Settlers shot at us and when the police and the Israeli army arrived they shot at us with rubber bullets and fired tear gas,” resident Awad Abu Samra told AFP.

The Israeli military said security forces entered Turmus Ayya “to extinguish the fires, prevent clashes and to collect evidence” after “Israeli civilians burned vehicles and possessions belonging to Palestinians.”

Twelve people were wounded in Turmus Ayya, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The violence followed the funeral in the neighbouring Israeli settlement of Shilo of 17-year-old Nahman Mordof.

The teenager was one of four Israelis killed Tuesday when Palestinian gunmen attacked a petrol station adjacent to Eli settlement before being shot dead.

– Schoolgirls carry body –

In Jenin, girls in school uniform carried the body of their classmate killed in an Israeli army raid on the city on Monday.

Sadil Naghnaghiya, 15, died from gunshot wounds suffered during the hours-long Israeli incursion, the Palestinian health ministry said on Wednesday.

Six other Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy and a militant, were killed in the raid.

A spokesman for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Hazem Qassem, described Tuesday’s attack against Israelis as a “response to the crimes of the (Israeli) occupation” in Jenin and elsewhere.

A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the government would fast-track settlement expansion at Eli in response to the attack.

“Our answer to terrorism is to strike at it forcefully and build up our country,” he said, after repeated calls by the United Nations for Israel to halt settlement construction.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967. Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is now home to around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

Israeli anti-settlement organisation Peace Now said Netanyahu’s announcement was intended “to appease fervent and fanatic settlers”, while  Palestinians “are already suffering the consequences of such decisions, with their villages being subjected to attacks and burnings.”

– Other settler reprisals –

The deadly shooting sparked reprisal attacks reported Tuesday in multiple Palestinian towns in the northern West Bank, including Huwara, Al-Lubban al-Sharqiya and Beit Furik.

Several dozen people were wounded, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

The latest incident has echoes of the late-February shooting of two Israeli settlers as they drove through Huwara, which led hundreds of settlers to torch Palestinian homes and cars in the town.

An extreme-right member of Netanyahu’s cabinet, Bezalel Smotrich, later called for Huwara to be “wiped out”, comments he walked back after international condemnation.

The army said Wednesday that overnight its forces entered the Palestinian village of Orif which was home to the gunmen in the latest incident. 

Israeli forces arrested three “wanted people” in Orif and went to “map the homes” of the shooters, a precursor to their demolition, a statement said.

Israel routinely demolishes the residences of Palestinians it blames for deadly attacks on Israelis, arguing that such measures act as a deterrent.

Human rights activists say the policy amounts to collective punishment, as it can render non-combatants, including children, homeless.

The surge in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far this year has killed at least 171 Palestinians, 25 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian.

The tally compiled from official sources includes combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

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