RAMALLAH, West Bank — A Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli soldiers Friday when clashes erupted during a demonstration in the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
“A citizen who was shot in the head with live ammunition died,” the ministry said, adding the incident happened in the village of Beit Dajan, near Nablus.
The Israeli army said in a statement: “Live fire was shot in the air by IDF forces in response to massive stone-throwing by Palestinian protesters, but the reason for the protester’s death is unknown. Riot dispersal means were also used.”
Atef Yussef Hanaysheh, 42, was killed in a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians demonstrating against Israeli settlement activity, said Beit Dajan Mayor Abdelrahman Hanani.
דיווחים פלסטינים: לוחמי צה"ל ירו בראשו של גבר בן 45 במהלך עימותים בכפר בית דג'ן. הוא פונה במצב קשה לביה"ח בשכם שם נקבע מותו pic.twitter.com/6CGlEEQ1nE
— שחר גליק (@glick_sh) March 19, 2021
“The soldiers fired when we approached a wildcat settlement near the village,” he told AFP, using a term for outposts not officially recognized by the Israeli government.
A spokesperson for the Hamas terror group, Hazem Qassem, said that the incident was a “new Zionist crime, and [part of] the brutal and never-ending terror committed by the occupation against our Palestinian people.”
“Zionist crimes will always be [the] fuel for our people’s unstoppable fighting revolution unless the occupier leaves all of our Palestinian lands,” Qassem added.
Palestinians gather on Fridays across the West Bank to protest against the expansion of Israeli settlements, which they claim are illegal under international law.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) March 19, 2021
The demonstrations are sometimes marred by clashes with the Israeli army.
Excluding Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, around 475,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, a territory with more than 2.8 million Palestinian inhabitants.