Palestinian shot dead by Israeli troops near Qalqilya security barrier

Israeli army says troops opened fire at a Palestinian trying to enter Israel illegally; debate over fence’s effectiveness has been renewed recently following wave of terror attacks

Illustrative: Israeli border police officers guard near the security fence, near the West Bank village of Hizme, March 27, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli border police officers guard near the security fence, near the West Bank village of Hizme, March 27, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man as he allegedly sought to cross the security fence by the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Sunday afternoon.

Palestinian health officials identified the deceased as Nabil Ahmad Salim Ghanim, a Palestinian man from the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Ghanim was rushed to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, where he was pronounced dead, a hospital spokesperson confirmed.

According to the Israeli army, Israeli soldiers shot at a Palestinian who sought to enter Israel through the security barrier that winds across the West Bank.

“The suspect damaged the security fence… in an attempt to cross into Israeli territory. The soldiers opened fire. A hit was identified,” a spokesperson for the Israeli military said.

The Israeli army did not respond to a query as to whether Ghanim was armed.

The first section of the West Bank barrier was built in 2003, when Israel faced a wave of brutal terror attacks. It was immediately subject to court challenges by human rights groups.

Israelis have debated the effectiveness of the West Bank security fence in recent months after a series of deadly terror attacks struck Israeli cities that killed 19 people. Most of the perpetrators had crossed illegally into Israel, apparently through gaps in the fence.

In response, the Israeli military deployed additional units along the length of the barrier, which was intended to stretch some 440 miles. Only 62 percent of the fence was ever completed, however.

“It’s for the public’s anxieties,” retired major general Gershon HaCohen told the Kan public broadcaster in April, referring to the recent deployment. “The army doesn’t even have the number of troops needed to manage the border.”

A view of Qalqilya from the Israeli side of the security barrier (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are estimated to cross the security barrier illegally to work in Israel. Israeli officials have said the army often turns a blind eye to the practice, which they say helps keep the rickety West Bank economy afloat and maintains stability in the area.

Israeli security officials have vowed to fix the holes in the barrier. The upgrade will cost hundreds of millions of shekels and could face court challenges, depending on the route of the unfinished sections.

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