A Palestinian teenager was reportedly shot dead by Israeli troops Friday and dozens more wounded in widespread clashes in the West Bank, amid a surge in violence since the release of the US peace plan. Two Israeli border guards were lightly hurt.
The center of the violence was in the town of Azzun in the northern West Bank, where thousands of Palestinians took part in a funeral for a Palestinian policeman killed by Israeli troops.
Tareq Badwan succumbed to his wounds after being shot by Israeli troops in Jenin Thursday in what the military said were unclear circumstances.
Many of the marchers at the funeral chanted that “a million martyrs are marching toward Jerusalem,” as Badwan’s flag-draped body was carried through the streets in one of the largest public displays in the West Bank in recent years.
עזון, הלויה של השוטר הפלסטיני טארק בדואן שנהרג מאש חיילי צה״ל. לא זוכרת דבר כזה בגדה בשנים האחרונות.pic.twitter.com/or2JM6Rh6H
— Shimrit Meir שמרית מאיר (@shimritmeir) February 7, 2020
Badr Nedal Nafla, 19, was critically hurt after being hit in the neck by gunfire in the town of Qaffin during clashes with the Israel Defense Forces on Friday, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said.
He was pronounced dead after being taken to a nearby hospital.
The IDF said he was shot after throwing a Molotov cocktail at troops, Haaretz reported.
Badwan, a member of the security forces, was standing at the entrance of a police station in the West Bank town of Jenin when he was shot by Israeli forces.
Israeli troops had clashed with Palestinians while demolishing the home of a terrorist, and another Palestinian, 19-year-old Yazan Abu Tabekh, was also killed during the clashes. The policeman did not appear to have been involved in the incident, and several members of the security forces marched in a funeral procession for him on Friday.
Afterwards, protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and set barricades on fire, as troops responded with riot dispersal means and live fire, according to Palestinian sources.
Two female border policewoman were lightly injured and taken to a hospital for further treatment, according to Hebrew media reports.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said dozens were wounded in clashes, including eight people were wounded by live fire and two others by rubber-tipped bullets in Azzun.
Clashes were also reported in several Palestinian towns and refugee camps across the West Bank after Friday prayers, but the situation was quiet at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem where thousands of extra police officers were deployed.
Around 25,000 Palestinians gathered for noon prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but they passed without incident, an AFP photographer said.
The site, a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest for Muslims, who refer to it as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or the Noble Sanctuary.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP there was “heightened security in Jerusalem,” including extra units, particularly “in and around the area of the Old City.”
He confirmed the prayers passed off without incident but said an increased police presence would remain.
Muslim prayers on Friday frequently become displays of anti-Israel incitement and terror support during times of escalating tensions.
The Hamas terror group on Wednesday called on Palestinians to step up confrontations with Israel, singling out the Temple Mount. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based terror group, also praised the recent violence and called for further attacks.
Besides the increased police presence around the Temple Mount, the IDF on Thursday announced it was sending additional troops to the West Bank in light of the increase in violence.
The decision came after the three attacks on Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem and amid a general spike in tensions and violence, with a deadly clash in Jenin, riots elsewhere in the West Bank, and continuing launches of projectiles and explosive devices from the Gaza Strip.
This was the third round of reinforcements to be sent to the area since the release of US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict January 28. With the unveiling of the plan, the IDF immediately deployed additional troops to the Jordan Valley. As protests picked up on January 29, the military sent additional combat soldiers to the West Bank.
Agencies contributed to this report.