Two Palestinians were reported killed Friday afternoon as clashes erupted in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following weekly prayers.
One man was killed during violent protests north of Hebron, according to Palestinian media. Meanwhile officials in the Gaza Strip said a second man was killed by Israeli troops in a clash along the security fence.
Media reports identified the Hebron man as 21-year-old Oday Irsheid, the brother of a 17-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed in October after security officials said she pulled a knife at troops in Hebron. Palestinian witnesses have claimed she was unarmed and was shot without provocation.
The army said Irsheid died during a riot in which hundreds of Palestinians attacked forces by hurling stones and firebombs and rolling burning tires toward troops. The military said forces tried to disperse the riot with nonlethal means before firing “towards inciting characters.”
“I say to all the people, don’t cry,” Jihad Irsheid told local media after identifying his son’s body. “Pray, fast, and instead of crying, cry over our situation. The martyr is with God.”
In the Gaza Strip dozens of rioters participated in several violent demonstrations along the security fence, hurling rocks at Israeli troops and burning tires. IDF forces were responding with non-lethal means, and in several cases shot at what they called central instigators.
Gaza officials said one man was killed after being shot in the chest.
In Beitunia near Ramallah, three border policemen were lightly injured while responding to a riot. Two were treated at the scene, while one was evacuated to hospital for treatment.
The clashes follow an attempted car-ramming of IDF soldiers at the Halhul Junction earlier Friday, during which the troops shot and killed the Palestinian driver.
The assailant was identified as Issa Haroub, 55, a resident of a village outside Hebron.
Soldiers opened fire on Haroub’s vehicle as it sped toward them at a checkpoint at Halhul Junction, which lies just north of Hebron. The army confirmed the driver was killed by the soldiers’ fire. A large knife was found on his body.
No Israelis were hurt in the incident.
The incident marked the second Palestinian attack in as many hours.
Earlier Friday, a Palestinian opened fire on the Gilboa crossing between Israel and the northern West Bank, near Jenin.
No Israelis were hurt in that attack either.
According to a Defense Ministry statement, the Palestinian assailant opened fire from several dozen yards away. A guard identified the assailant and returned fire, apparently wounding him.
A Palestinian commercial vehicle then sped up to the shooter, who got in and escaped.
Security forces launched a manhunt for the attacker, who was believed to have come from around the nearby Palestinian city of Jenin.
According to Channel 10, Palestinian Authority police may have arrested the shooter while he fled the scene. A conflicting Palestinian report suggested IDF forces may be searching for the assailant in Jenin.
AP contributed to th.is report