Palestinian, 19, shot dead in West Bank; IDF says he threw petrol bomb
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Prayers at flashpoint Temple Mount pass peacefully

Palestinian, 19, shot dead in West Bank; IDF says he threw petrol bomb

Dozens of Palestinians, 2 border guards hurt in riot as thousands take part in funeral for policeman killed by IDF; mourners chant ‘million martyrs are marching toward Jerusalem’

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during the funeral of Palestinian policeman Tareq Badwa, in the northern West Bank village of Azzun, on February 7, 2020. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during the funeral of Palestinian policeman Tareq Badwa, in the northern West Bank village of Azzun, on February 7, 2020. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

A Palestinian 19-year-old was shot dead by Israeli troops Friday and dozens more were 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 IDF said the Palestinian was shot after “a violent riot was instigated” near Qaffin, northeast of Tulkarem. It said dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF troops, posing a risk to troop security.” Troops opened fire, it said, when a Palestinian “hurled a Molotov cocktail at them… in order to remove the threat.”

The man was named as Badr Nedal Nafla. He was pronounced dead after being taken to a nearby hospital, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said.

The center of Friday’s 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 on Thursday.

Tareq Badwan succumbed to his wounds after being shot by Israeli troops in Jenin Thursday in what the military initially 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.

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.

Palestinian Authority police officers carry the body of policeman Tareq Badwan at his funeral in the northern West Bank village of Azzun, on February 7, 2020. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

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.

A Palestinian throws a stone during clashes with Israeli forces following Friday prayers at the al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron in the West Bank, on February 7, 2020. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

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 worshipers gather at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on February 7, 2020. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

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.

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