A Palestinian teenager died of wounds he sustained Tuesday night in violent clashes between Palestinian Authority security forces and Palestinians, some of them armed with guns, in the Jenin area, the official PA news site Wafa reported on Wednesday.
PA Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub said in a video published on Facebook that members of the PA security forces went to Qabatiya, a village south of Jenin, after information was obtained that a “military-style demonstration” would take place there.
According to several Palestinian news sites, Palestinians in Qabatiya had been preparing to celebrate the return of a man who had been recently freed from an Israeli prison.
Palestinians in the West Bank sometimes fire bullets into the air during celebrations.
Rajoub said that when the PA security forces arrived in the village, gunmen opened fire on them and others hurled rocks in their direction. He said PA security forces in a nearby security headquarters responded by firing tear gas and that others shot bullets into the air.
وفاة الشاب صلاح زكارنة (١٧ عاما) من بلدة قباطية، بعد إصابته برصاصة إثر أحداث اطلاق النار المؤسفة في قباطية، ليلة أمس.
Rajoub added that two Palestinians were wounded by gunfire and 18 security forces were injured by rock throwing.
The deceased Palestinian was identified as 17-year-old Salah Zakarneh of Qabatiya. An unnamed security source told the Ma’an news site that Zakarneh was hit by a bullet in the chest.
The PA Jenin governor did not clearly state whether Zakarneh was wounded by a bullet fired by the security forces or the gunmen, but said that indications point to the latter being responsible for causing “the chaos.”
He also did not elucidate whether Zakarneh was a bystander or actively participating in the clashes.
The security source also told Ma’an that the PA security forces had opened an investigation into the incident. Unnamed eyewitnesses told the news site that the situation remained tense in Qabatiya but was moving toward calm.
Rajoub did not answer several calls to further clarify what transpired.
Video posted on social media showed that later on Tuesday a group of Palestinians gathered outside a hospital in Jenin where many of those injured in the clashes were being treated.
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) February 18, 2020
One video showed rocks being thrown at security forces standing next to the entrance to the hospital. It also showed at least one member of the security forces using pepper spray against some of the Palestinians congregated outside the medical institution.
Hamas terror group spokesman Hazem Qassim accused the security forces of firing a bullet at Zakarneh, which it said proves “the logic of thuggery that the services employ against our people.”
“We affirm our national demand regarding the necessity of halting security coordination between the services and the occupation’s army,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hamas has frequently called on the PA to end its security coordination with Israel, which it says has led to the arrest of many of its members in the West Bank.