Three Palestinians killed in 3 days amidst Israeli military escalation

Mariam Barghouti

Mondoweiss  /  February 13, 2023

Israeli forces and Jewish settlers killed 3 Palestinians in three days shortly after Itamar Ben Gvir called for an “Operation Defensive Shield 2” in response to the targeting of settlers.

Jewish settlers and the Israeli army have killed three Palestinians in three days consecutively. This comes shortly after Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, called for invading the West Bank in response to the killing of settlers, an “Operation Defensive Shield 2.”

On Saturday, February 11, Mithqal Rayyan, 27, was shot dead by a settler in Qarawa Bani Husan, near Salfit; on Sunday, February 12, Israeli forces invaded Jenin refugee camp and killed 14-year-old Qusai Radwan; and on Monday, February 13, Israeli forces raided Nablus in a military operation targeting Palestinian resistance fighters, during which Ameer Bustami, 21, was shot and killed by the army.

Over the weekend: the killing of a father and a teenager

Two Palestinians were killed over the weekend — 27-year-old Mithqal Rayyan in Qarawat Bani Husan near Salfit, Saturday, February 11; and 14-year-old Qusai Radwan in Jenin refugee camp, Sunday, February 12. 

Mithqal Rayyan was shot dead by a settler with a bullet to the head during a settler attack on Palestinian farmers and their agricultural lands on Saturday afternoon.

Rayyan was a father of three. His eldest son is only 4, and he has a 2-year-old daughter and a newborn not one month old. 

During his funeral, Rayyan’s mother was seen holding his head and kissing him in tears. 

“He left in the morning without saying goodbye to his wife and kids, only to return to them a martyr,” she told the Maan News Agency

The next day, February 12, teenage Qusai Radwan was killed during an Israeli invasion of Jenin — a near daily occurrence — with the purpose of arresting the brother of Palestinian political detainee Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the six

Palestinians who were part of the Gilboa Prison break in September 2021.

Gibril Zubeidi, along with two others, were arrested during the raid. In May of last year, Daoud Zubeidi, the older brother of Zakaria and Gibril, was arrested by Israeli forces a few days after the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, and would later succumb to wounds he had sustained during his arrest. 

Qusai Radwan was buried in his home village of Arqah later Sunday evening. 

Confrontations persist in Nablus

After midnight on Monday, at approximately 1 a.m., undercover Israeli special forces invaded Nablus near Al-Ain refugee camp. 

Within the first half hour of the invasion, Israeli forces had managed to surround and besiege a building believed to house a resistance fighter near the Old City. The surrounded resistance fighters refused to hand themselves in, resulting in a protracted gunfight that lasted for almost four hours.

Two Palestinians were eventually arrested, Osama al-Tawil and Abed al-Kamel Jury, under the allegation of being suspected of carrying out a shooting operation near the illegal Jewish settlement of Shavei Shomron in October of last year, in which one Israeli officer who was securing a settler march was killed. 

During the overnight assault on Nablus, seven people were injured with live ammunition, while Israeli forces denied medical personnel access to reach injured persons. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, three medical volunteers were also detained for several hours in a building and prevented from providing emergency care. In the Old City, one injury with live ammunition to the thigh was impeded from reaching the hospital, according to the Red Crescent.

“The soldiers of Lions’ Den are currently in the battle for dignity,” a press statement released by the armed resistance group, the Lions’ Den, said on Monday. “A battle for the precepts of Al-Azizi and Al-Nabulsi and Al-Wadee,” referencing the fallen fighters who were prominent figures in the armed resistance group. The statement went on to call on Palestinians to confront Israeli incursions. 

Near the western entrance to the city, Israeli forces had surrounded a building and targeted it with a series of explosives, according to footage shared with Mondoweiss from residents and local journalists in the city. 

By 2:30 a.m., mosques in the city rang alarms warning of the invasion through ululations, as armed confrontations ensued in the city center. In conjunction with the Lions’ Den, the Quds Brigades-Nablus Battalion, an armed resistance group affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), also joined confrontations. 

The Nablus Battalion of the Al-Quds Brigades reported that its group had joined confrontations against invading Israeli forces and fired explosive devices from several locations, according to a statement on its Telegram account. 

The assault was so brutal that eyewitnesses reported it as a “real battleground.” Video footage and reports from local journalists show constant live ammunition being fired consecutively.  This further escalated when an army vehicle broke down near a school in Nablus, as resistance fighters continued to fire at the army as it withdrew, at approximately 4:00 a.m.

At 4:25 a.m., the Red Crescent reported that Ameer Bustami was pronounced dead after several attempts to resuscitate him by doctors at Rafidia Hospital near Nablus.

According to local news sources in Jenin, during Sunday’s raid of Jenin refugee camp to arrest Gibril Zubeidi, Palestinian resistance fighters had employed a flying drone to monitor the movement of Israeli military vehicles invading the camp. This is considered a new development in Palestinian resistance, which until last year had been reduced to hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at invading Israeli forces.

With the killing of Bustami, the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank rose to 48 in less than two months into the new year. This includes ten Palestinian children.

Mariam Barghouti is the Senior Palestine Correspondent for Mondoweiss