5 Palestinians killed in two days in the West Bank

Mariam Barghouti

Mondoweiss  /  January 12, 2023

The Israeli army continues its onslaught on the West Bank, killing five Palestinians in four separate cities, from the north of the West Bank to the south.

Five Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank in less than two days, between Wednesday and Thursday, including two teenagers.

Ahmad Amer Abu Juneid, 21, was killed with a bullet to the head in the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus; Sanad Samamra, 19, was killed in Hebron/Al-Khalil after an alleged stabbing attempt; Samir Ouni Aslan, 41, was killed with a bullet to the chest in the Qalandia refugee camp; and Habib Mohammad Abdelrahman Kamil, 25, and Abdelhadi Fakhri Nazzal, 18, were killed in Qabatiya, Jenin.

More than 231 Palestinians were killed in 2022, with the vast majority (173) killed in the West Bank. This year seems to usher in a similar trend, as Israeli forces have already killed nine Palestinians in 2023, including 3 children. 

The martyr of Balata

On Wednesday morning, January 11, Israeli forces invaded the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Confrontations ensued between the army and local youth, including the exchange of gunfire by armed resistance fighters from within the camp.

One man was critically injured with a bullet to the head that morning, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH). The next day, the man, identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Amer Abu Juneid, succumbed to his wounds sustained the night before, and was declared dead at 3:30 p.m., January 12, by the MOH.

During the raid on Balata, Israeli forces fired tear gas and live ammunition during the raid the night before, endangering the lives of the refugee camp population, 60% of whom are under the age of 25.

The martyr of Hebron

In the early dawn hours of Thursday, January 12, 19-year-old Sanad Mohammad Othman Samamra was shot and killed after an alleged attempted stabbing attack near the illegal Jewish settlement of Givat Yehuda, south of Hebron/Al-Khalil.

The MOH reported that Samamra was shot and killed by the Israeli army, while Israeli media reported that Samamra was shot by a Jewish settler bystander — an electrician — as Samamra carried out the alleged stabbing of another settler.

Mondoweiss has been unable to verify the details of Samamra’s death as of the time of writing.

According to Israeli reports, one settler was injured.

Raid on the Old City of Nablus

On that same Thursday morning, the Israeli army also invaded the Old City of Nablus, which in 2022 became a haven for the armed Palestinian resistance group, the Lions’ Den

Five Palestinians were arrested from the Old City, including 33-year-old Iyad Nasser Shabaro, who the Israeli military claimed was an “activist in the Lions’ Den group.”

Though no one was killed during the Nablus raid, more than ten Palestinians were injured in the Old City, according to local news sources. Of those, five Palestinians were injured with live ammunition, including two local journalists who were transferred to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, along with two others who were injured after being rammed by military vehicles.

The martyr of Qalandia

Israeli soldiers also invaded Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah on Thursday morning at approximately 5:00 a.m., conducting sweeping arrests in the camp.

Samir Ouni Aslan, 41, the father of one of the youths being arrested, was shot by an Israeli sniper in the chest while on the roof of his home, as he tried to get a view of the arrest of his son in the street below. According to WAFA News Agency, he had previously attempted to go out into the street to prevent the soldiers from arresting his son — who had been reportedly calling for his father to help him — but the soldiers prevented him from leaving the building, after which Aslan went up on the roof of the apartment building to get a better vantage point of his son. That was when an Israeli sniper stationed on the roof of a nearby building shot Aslan in the chest.

According to WAFA, Aslan was assisted by his wife, brother, and sister-in-law in going downstairs and into the camp’s alleyways to rush him to the hospital, but were accosted by an Israeli soldier who forced them to lay Aslan (still alive at the time) down on the ground for 30 minutes, before eventually allowing them to take him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Ramallah Medical Complex.

In the first moments of receiving news of Aslan’s killing, his grief-stricken father hovered over his son’s slain body while in tears, saying “my love, my love” in a cracked voice, before saying “al-hamdulilah” (or “praise be to God,” a common refrain in times of hardship denoting humility and gratitude for one’s fate).

Fatah declared Friday a general strike over the killing of Aslan. The political faction had also called for a general call for disruption in light of the killing.

“My name is Sameera, and his name is Samir,” Aslan’s mother is seen saying from a couch in Qalandia refugee camp. The elderly woman kisses the hands of her granddaughter, who wears a bright pink jacket as she is carried by her mother beside her, telling her: “In your dreams, my dear. You will know your father in your dreams.”

“Tell me, someone explain to me,” Samira cried. “Until when will this injustice persist?”

The martyrs of Jenin

Two martyrs were killed by Israeli forces in the town of Qabatiya, in the Jenin district of the northern West Bank, during an army raid.

The first was Habib Mohammad Abdelrahman Kamil, 25, just hours after Aslan’s funeral.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. Israeli forces invaded the eastern neighborhood of Qabatiya in an undercover Mercedes bus holding a special operations unit, followed by the army.

According to local reporters, armed confrontations with Israeli forces ensued and lasted for hours. Special operations units surrounded the home of 24-year-old Mohammad Ali Kamil and destroyed the family’s belongings.

Later that night, at 9:15 p.m., the MOH announced that a second Palestinian was  killed in Qabatiya in the same raid. He was identified as 18-year-old Abdelhadi Fakhri Nazzal. According to the ministry, Nazzal was injured during the same raid in which Israeli forces shot and killed 25-year-old Abdelrahman Kamil.

Four others were injured by Israeli live fire during the raid, including one in the neck and the others in the chest.

Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss