A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers near Nabi Saleh, a small town northwest of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
The man was identified as Nihad Amin al-Barghouti, a resident of nearby Kufr Ein in his 20s. Al-Barghouti previously served a term in Israeli jail for security offenses, according to Palestinian media.
The Israeli military said in a statement that troops had fired on “dozens of Palestinians” who approached a reinforced army post next to Nabi Saleh and threw stones at soldiers.
The soldiers “responded with riot dispersal means and suspect arrest procedure, which included live fire,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
“A report has been received about the death of a Palestinian. The matter is being examined,” the army concluded.
But a Palestinian witness who spoke to The Times of Israel rejected that account. According to the witness, whose house overlooks the military observation tower, only a handful of Palestinians — “four or five” approached the tower.
“These weren’t really clashes. The small group approached the tower. The soldiers descended from the tower and then they started firing — just one shot,” said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal.
The Palestinian Health Ministry says a Palestinian man, identified as Nahad Amin Barghouti, was shot dead during clashes with IDF troops in the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah earlier. pic.twitter.com/qcqZ18ZGM7
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) February 15, 2022
“Afterwards, we went down to try to offer him first aid, but he had already lost consciousness,” the witness said.
When asked whether the Palestinians threw stones, the witness did not deny it. But they why it was necessary for the soldiers to descend from the tower in the first place.
“If they’d stayed in the tower, it was reinforced, they would have been in no danger. This proves that the intention was to kill. These were young kids — [al-Barghouti] was the oldest of them,” the witness said.
Al-Barghouti’s death comes as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have risen across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Clashes have erupted for the past several nights in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Dozens of Palestinians and right-wing Israelis have faced off, with police arresting some and firing sound grenades and high-pressure water to disperse the gatherings.
Sheikh Jarrah has become one of Jerusalem’s tensest neighborhoods. Far-right Jewish nationalists have sought to evict Palestinian residents in legal battles that helped touch off violence between Israel and the Hamas terror group last May.
Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have recently been protesting the pending eviction of the Salem family. The eleven Palestinians are set to be evicted by Jerusalem city councilmember Yonatan Yosef as early as March.
Far-right Israeli politician Itamar Ben Gvir has set up a temporary “office” in the neighborhood, further stoking tensions.
Ben Gvir said he was protesting the insecurity felt by Jewish Israelis living in Sheikh Jarrah, following the firebombing of a home where a Jewish family lived. Two suspects were arrested earlier this week in connection with the Friday attack.
On Tuesday, Israeli troops raided Al-Quds University in Abu Dis to break up a protest against the Sheikh Jarrah evictions. In video from the scene, students and faculty could be seen running for cover as tear gas canisters arced through the air inside the campus.
גז מדמיע בקמפוס אוניבירסיטת אלקודס באבו דיס. כך נראה כיבוש pic.twitter.com/EZpMxvWtYK
— Ahmad Tibi (@Ahmad_tibi) February 15, 2022
The Israeli army did not respond to a request for comment on the Abu Dis incident.
On Sunday night, a firefight broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the town of Silat al-Harithiya, near Jenin. A 17-year-old Palestinian was killed during the clashes; it was unclear whether he was a bystander or a participant.
The troops had arrived after dark to demolish part a home belonging to a Palestinian charged in a terror attack in which yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman was killed near the Homesh outpost in December.
Last week, Israeli undercover police killed three Palestinians during a rare daytime raid in the West Bank city of Nablus. The Israeli troops fired dozens of rounds into the car before seizing two M-16 rifles from the vehicle and driving away from the scene.
Israeli defense officials accused the three of being behind in the string of recent shooting attacks. They were later claimed as members by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a loose coalition of armed groups affiliated with the ruling Fatah party.