Five Palestinians killed in rising West Bank violence
Clashes reported in several hotspots as thousands, encouraged by Hamas, join ‘Day of Rage’ protests against IDF Gaza offensive
Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.
Five Palestinians were killed in the West Bank Friday, in a series of clashes and demonstrations hours after Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and abroad urged Palestinians to launch a Third Intifada against Israel.
In the Hawara area, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, a settler fired his weapon in self-defense at a crowd of Palestinians who stoned his car and attacked him and stoned him when he got out, according to Channel 2. An 18-year-old Palestinian, identified later as Khaled Oudeh, was killed in the shooting, according to Palestinian sources.
Following the incident, hundreds of Palestinians rioted in the area and clashed with IDF troops, who responded with tear gas and live bullets. A second Palestinian, 22-year-old Tayyib Oudeh, was reported killed in the rioting, while several others were reported injured, according to AFP.
In the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, three Palestinian men, including 46-year-old Hashem Abu Marieh and 30-year-old Sultan Yusef, were reportedly shot and killed by IDF troops during violent clashes, according to Palestinians.
Later, a Palestinian man turned himself in to Israeli police after swerving his car into a group of Israelis, hitting and lightly injuring a 17-year-old Israeli girl, at the Etzion Bloc junction in the West Bank, Channel 2 reported.
The man claimed he hit the girl by accident as she stood at a hitchhiking point at the junction. Police launched an investigation into the incident.
In Friday’s early morning hours, Qatar-based Hamas spokesman Husham Badran, responding to reports of clashes Thursday between thousands of Palestinian protesters and police at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, said the time was now ripe for the Palestinians to rise up, Israel Radio reported.
“This is your opportunity,” Badran stated.
Two Palestinians were killed by IDF soldiers during the Qalandiya demonstration, reportedly attended by 10,000 people. IDF officials said the two had opened fire on Israeli forces during the clashes. Palestinian health officials reported over 100 Palestinians wounded as well. Two Israeli policemen were lightly injured in the disturbances.
Following the demonstration, Hamas official Izat a-Rishk posted a call on Twitter for a revolution against the Israeli people, adding that the blood of Gazans ignites the West Bank. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri later added that the events in Qalandiya prove that the Palestinians are one people and that Gaza cannot be isolated.
Since July 8, Israeli soldiers have been engaged in an ongoing military offensive in the Gaza Strip aimed at thwarting Hamas missile attacks and uncovering terror tunnels leading from the Palestinian enclave into Israeli territory.
Palestinian Authority officials on Friday called for a “Day of Rage” across the West Bank, in protest at the deaths and of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Hamas and Islamic Jihad called for marches in Ramallah and Hebron, respectively.
There were further protests in Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood on Friday morning.
Riots broke out Thursday in a number of locations in the eastern part of the city as well, including in Ras al-Amoud and Silwan as well as inside the Old City and on the Temple Mount.
Several roads in the capital were closed due to the disturbances.
Palestinian sources claimed there were tens of thousands at the various demonstrations — the largest such protests in years. Channel 2 also said there had been an upsurge in gunfire at Israeli troops in the West Bank in recent days.
Thursday evening was the last night of Ramadan, called Laylat al-Qadr or the Night of Power, which is considered one of the most important dates in the month-long festival.
Police anticipated unrest and deployed thousands of officers and paramilitary Border Police in East Jerusalem and across the West Bank.
Stuart Winer and Itamar Sharon contributed to this report