Israeli soldier kills Palestinian man during raid on West Bank village

Salah Tawfiq Sawafta, a 58-year-old Palestinian from Tubas village, was shot dead on 19 August 2022 (Screengrab)

Middle East Eye  /  August 19, 2022

Salah Tawfiq Sawafta, 58, died in hospital on Friday after he was shot in the head with live bullets.

Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man in Tubas, a village in the north of the occupied West Bank, during a dawn raid on Friday morning.

Salah Tawfiq Sawafta, 58, succumbed to his wounds in a hospital later on Friday. The Palestinian ministry of health said he was shot in the head with live bullets, which left him in a critical condition when he arrived at the hospital.

WAFA news agency reported that Sawafta was shot while returning to his home after performing the dawn prayer at a local mosque.

Israeli forces also raided Tamun village, north of the West Bank, on Friday, arresting four Palestinians from the same family and wounding another after he was shot in the thigh.

Palestinians in Tubas clashed with Israeli forces during an early morning raid which led to the arrest of a Palestinian university student at his home.

‘Vengeful soldier’

The mayor of Tubas, Hossam Daraghmeh, told AFP that an Israeli soldier fired at Sawafta as he left dawn prayers.

“He left the mosque and was heading to his house wearing a prayer robe. There was a vengeful soldier stationed in a building near the municipality who shot him in the head,” he said.

Daraghmeh added that Sawafta had been unarmed when he was hit.

“This man did not have a stone or anything in his hand,” he said.

The account is contrary to Israeli claims that soldiers did not fire at Sawafta. The Israeli army said in a statement that soldiers had come under fire during a raid in the town aimed at apprehending “a group of terrorists” planning attacks on Israeli civilians.

During the operation “armed Palestinians opened massive indiscriminatory fire”, and soldiers responded with “precise fire” that hit “a number of assailants”, Israel said in a statement cited by AFP.

In recent months, the Palestinian villages around Nablus and Jenin, in the northern West Bank, have seen increased Israeli raids to arrest political activists and, in some incidents, assassinate leaders from Palestinian factions. 

On Thursday, Israeli forces killed a 20-year-old Palestinian man, Wasim Nasser Abu Khalifa, and wounded at least 30 others in a pre-dawn raid in Nablus, in the West Bank.

Israeli security forces have killed more than 80 Palestinians so far this year, during raids in the occupied West Bank.