Israelis kill four Palestinians in occupied West Bank confrontations – Huwara

Al-Jazeera  /  October 5, 2023

Two Palestinians killed in Huwara, south of Nablus, hours after two others were killed near .

Four Palestinians have been killed in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank, three at the hands of Israeli soldiers, and one by an Israeli settler, according to the Israeli military and medical officials.

Two of the men were killed near Shufa village in the Tulkarm area, Israel’s military said on Thursday, adding that a gunfight had erupted after soldiers identified a “suspicious vehicle”, and the two men shot at the settler.

“Soldiers engaged and after exchanges of fire, the two terrorists were neutralized,” the military said.

Israeli forces regularly raid Tulkarm.

Al-Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah, said that usually when the Israeli forces raid the Palestinian city in the West Bank, Palestinians tend to retaliate by shooting towards illegal Israeli settlements.

However, this time, the Palestinians who were killed “are believed to have shot at an Israeli settler on a motorcycle, according to witnesses”, she said.

Ibrahim added that Israeli forces prevented medical aid from reaching the scene this morning and then “took” the bodies as “a part of an Israeli policy to withhold the bodies of Palestinians believed to have committed attacks against Israelis and Israeli soldiers”.

Local news site WAFA identified the two young men as Abd al-Rahman Atta and Hudhayfah Fares.

Palestinians killed in Huwara

Hours later, a Palestinian was shot by Israeli occupation forces in Huwara, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Initial reports suggested that he was killed after he shot towards settlers in the area, but no injuries or damage was reported.

The fourth Palestinian, named as 19-year-old Labib Dhamidi by the Palestinian state news agency WAFA, was reportedly killed by a settler after they descended on the town following the earlier incident.

According to local journalist and activist Abdul Rahman Dhamidi, confrontations in Huwara were ongoing late on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday.

“As I speak to you now, I can hear the sound of live bullets being fired by the army, as settlers [are] attacking homes with stones. Israeli army forces have also been using tear gas and rubber bullets to suppress any Palestinian response to the settler actions,” said Abdul Rahman Dhamidi.

“What is happening on the main street of the town of Huwara is a real battlefield between Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers. The situation in our town is very, very difficult,” he added.

According to Kamal Odeh, secretary of the Fatah movement in Huwara, more than 500 Israeli settlers have been stationed along the main road of Huwara under the protection of the Israeli army.

“They are placing chairs and tables near Huwara gas station in the middle of the town. Dozens of cars belonging to Palestinians have been smashed. There has also been an attack in the town centre area with reports of injuries,” he explained.

Settlers regularly attack Huwara, including in February when they killed one Palestinian in a rampage and destroyed homes and cars. An Israeli general described the incident as a pogrom, but Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, later called for Huwara to be wiped out.

Huwara has been the site of several attacks in recent months, with the latest being on August 19, when two Israelis were killed. The Palestinian gunman behind the August shooting is still at large.

Failed peacemaking

The West Bank, which is illegally occupied by Israel, has seen a surge of violence in recent months amid an almost 10-year impasse in United States-sponsored peacemaking efforts.

Israel has stepped up military raids, primarily in the north of the occupied West Bank, for more than 18 months in what it says is a campaign to root out Palestinian resistance fighters and thwart future attacks.

The Israeli army has been militarily occupying the West Bank, where some three million Palestinians live, for 56 years, an occupation viewed as illegal by the United Nations and most countries.

In July, Israel launched one of its biggest attacks on the occupied West Bank, killing at least 12 Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp and wounding about 100 others.

The UN has said 2023 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians since it started counting deaths in 2006.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of this year, according to the health ministry. At least 35 Israelis were also killed in Palestinian attacks during the same period.

Additional reporting by Ayman Nobani in Nablus 



4 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in fresh West Bank violence – clashes erupt in flashpoint town

AP  /  October 6, 2023

JERUSALEM – Israeli troops killed three Palestinian gunmen in West Bank violence on Thursday, Palestinian health officials said, in the latest deaths in a months-long surge of violence in the occupied territory.

In video circulated on social media, a lone gunman opened fire at an Israeli car in broad daylight on a busy street in Huwara, a flashpoint town in the northern West Bank. The gunman fired at least 10 shots, pursuing the car as it tried to escape by driving over a barrier in the middle of the street.

No one in the car was injured, the army said. It said troops hunted him after the attack and shot him. The identity of the gunman, whose death was confirmed by Palestinian officials, wasn’t immediately known.

Huwara has seen repeated attacks, including a deadly shooting early this year that triggered a rampage by Jewish West Bank settlers who torched Palestinian property.

Early Friday, dozens of Jewish settlers entered Huwara, and clashes erupted with Palestinian residents, the Israeli military said. Both sides threw stones at one another before troops moved in to disperse the crowds.

The army said it opened fire at a man who threw a block at an Israeli vehicle. Palestinian health officials said a 19 year old Palestinian man was shot in the chest and killed. The army said Israeli settlers also vandalized Palestinian property. No further details were immediately released.

Earlier Thursday, the Israeli military said its troops carried out a raid in the Tulkarem refugee camp. It said that soldiers came under fire and that troops shot Palestinian gunmen. Five members on the paramilitary border police unit were wounded in the clashes, it said.

Two Palestinian militants were killed by the Israeli gunfire, Palestinian health officials said. The Hamas militant group later claimed the two men as its members.

A spiral of violence has gripped the occupied territory for more than 18 months. The Israeli military has mounted near-nightly raids into Palestinian towns, often prompting deadly clashes with residents. Militancy has surged among young Palestinians who have lost hope in their leadership and in the prospect of a political resolution to the conflict.

Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year in the West Bank, according to a tally by The Associated Press — the highest death toll in years. Israel says most of those killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting incursions as well as innocent bystanders have also been killed.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed more than 30 people this year.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek all three areas for a future independent state.


Palestinian killed in fresh Huwara violence in Israeli-occupied West Bank

The National  /  October 6, 2023

The lethal violence comes after Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

A Palestinian has been killed during violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank town of Huwara, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Friday.

Witnesses said it was unclear whether the man, aged 19, was killed by a mob of settlers – many of whom carry weapons – or soldiers who had been stationed in the area.

The Israeli military said dozens of settlers and townspeople threw rocks at each other. A Palestinian threw a brick at soldiers and they fired in return.

“A hit was identified,” the Israeli military said, meaning a person was struck by the soldiers’ gunfire. The army did not identify the person.

An Israeli military representative said the army was unaware of a settler having fired a weapon during the confrontations.

There has been a sharp rise in violence this year in Huwara, a small town on the road between Ramallah and Nablus in the northern West Bank, with settler attacks escalating after a lethal attack on two Israeli settlers in February.

A settler rampage through the town followed, during which cars and dozens of homes were burnt down, and one Palestinian was killed.

The Israeli army was heavily criticized for not intervening in the attacks but later called them a “pogrom,” or hate-motivated religious riot.

Bezalel Smotrich, Finance Minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, provoked outrage when he later said Huwara should be “wiped out.”

On Thursday, a suspected Palestinian gunman shot at an Israeli vehicle in Huwara carrying three members of an Israeli family.

Israeli security forces tracked him down and killed him. The family was unharmed.

The attack came hours after two Palestinian gunmen and five Israeli soldiers were wounded in separate clashes.

The occupied West Bank, among the territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has experienced a surge of violence in recent months amid an almost decade-old impasse in US-sponsored peacemaking efforts.