Palestinian reportedly shot dead by settlers in fresh bout of West Bank violence

Security source says 19-year-old from Burqa was apparently shot by Israelis from nearby illegal outpost, adds troops weren’t present at time; Israeli forces at scene investigating

Qusai Jamal Matan (Courtesy)
Qusai Jamal Matan (Courtesy)

A 19-year-old Palestinian was killed Friday during clashes with settlers in the West Bank, with Palestinian reports saying he was shot dead by the Israelis.

The victim was identified by the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry as Qusai Jamal Matan.

An unnamed security source was widely quoted by Hebrew media outlets saying soldiers were not present in Burqa, the Palestinian town near Ramallah where the fighting took place, at the time of the incident and that it appeared the Palestinian was shot by the Israelis, who came from the nearby illegal outpost of Oz Zion.

In an initial response, the Israel Defense Forces said it received reports of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, during which a Palestinian was killed, seemingly by a gun fired by an Israeli. The military also said there were reports of Israelis who were injured by Palestinian rock-throwing.

“The IDF, Israel Police and additional security forces arrived at the scene and are now investigating,” a military statement said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said Mi’tan, who was shot in the neck, died shortly after reaching the hospital.

The office of Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh demanded that the perpetrators “not be allowed to escape punishment.”

According to the PA’s official Wafa news agency, the clashes broke out after settlers attacked the village, leading residents to confront them.

Two other Palestinians were reportedly hurt by rocks thrown by settlers, who Wafa said burned a pair of cars in Burqa.

Friday’s incident came after several other Palestinians were killed in disputed circumstances involving settlers. In June, a Palestinian was shot dead during a settler rampage in Turmus Ayya that followed a deadly attack and in February a Palestinian was killed while settlers rioted in Huwara after a terror shooting.

Also in February, the Shin Bet joined police in investigating the killing of a Palestinian man in the West Bank, allegedly by Israeli settlers.

There has been a rise in settler violence in recent months, with the UN on Friday reporting there have been nearly 600 attacks on Palestinians and their property over the past six months.

The riots have been condemned by politicians, including some from the hardline right-wing coalition, but there has been little clear-cut condemnation from settlement leaders.

The government has pledged to hold those behind the settler rampages accountable. Two suspects have since been charged in the rioting. Five Israelis have been held under administrative detention for their involvement. Hundreds were filmed taking part in the attacks.

AP contributed to this report.

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