Palestinians, Israeli army clash at West Bank site of deadly incident

Protesters at village of Al-Mughayyir, where Hamdi Na’asan was killed in a disputed clash last week, hurl stones at soldiers who respond with tear gas and rubber bullets

Tear gas canisters are fired by Israeli troops at Palestinians during clashes with Palestinians after the funeral of Hamdi Na'asan in the village of Mughayyir near the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 27, 2018 (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Tear gas canisters are fired by Israeli troops at Palestinians during clashes with Palestinians after the funeral of Hamdi Na'asan in the village of Mughayyir near the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 27, 2018 (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Clashes erupted Friday between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir, the site of a deadly incident last week.

Hundreds of demonstrators waving Palestinian flags rallied in the village. Palestinians hurled stones and soldiers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that seven Palestinians were injured. There was no immediate comment from the IDF.

Hamdi Na’asan, 38, was killed last Saturday near Al-Mughayyir during clashes with settlers and soldiers.

There are conflicting claims as to how the deadly incident unfolded. Local Palestinians say the settlers fatally shot Na’asan during an altercation, but residents of the neighboring Adei Ad outpost claim their security guards fired shots in the air to chase away Palestinians attackers who stabbed a Jewish teen.

Tear gas is fired at Palestinian protesters by Israeli troops during clashes in Al-Mughayyir near Ramallah on January 27, 2019. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

In a statement to the media, the Israeli 19-year-old who was allegedly attacked said he had walked 200 meters (600 feet) from the outpost for some solitude when “suddenly I saw three Arabs who ambushed me. They attacked me, hit me, and tried to drag me towards [their] village. I managed to escape to Adei Ad, and on the way I realized I had been stabbed in the hand. I saw blood.”

The teen said he got in touch with the outpost’s security squad and “they gave chase to the attackers.” He added that he was lightly injured, but did not require hospitalization.

Resident of the West Bank outpost of Adei Ad who claims he was stabbed Saturday in an altercation with residents of the Palestinian village of the Ramallah-area village of Al-Mughayyir. (Screenshot, Hadashot News )

While Israeli authorities have not yet asked Palestinians to provide testimony, police summoned over 20 members of the Adei Ad security squad that responded to Saturday’s incident to offer their account of what took place. A police spokesman clarified to The Times of Israel that the settlers were not questioned as suspects, but that their weapons were seized as part of the investigation.

Confusion still surrounds the different versions of events and the timeline of the clash. Audio recordings obtained by Hadashot news appeared to show the army being called by a local settler, half an hour after the clash started, who said that the Adei Ad civilian security team had been sent to the village. The caller was told by the army officer that “we are not dispatching forces to that.”

Twenty minutes later, a member of the security team called the army again, saying “we are talking about immediate threat to life.” The caller confirmed to the army dispatcher that he was talking about Al-Mughayyir and the dispatcher replied that a Border Police force was already on the scene. However, the security team member said that the force was south of the village and apparently not at the location of the clash.

Many settlements have civilian security teams composed of residents who are usually army veterans. The teams train regularly and serve as a first response unit to security incidents until the IDF or police arrive on the scene.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov called Nasan’s killing “shocking and unacceptable!” on Twitter, saying that Israel “must put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice.”

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