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Palestinians say protester killed in West Bank clashes with IDF

Muhammad Ahmed Saleem, 24, died of gunshot wound to the head during protest near Qalqiliya, PA health ministry says

Illustrative. Palestinians protesters throw a firebomb towards Israeli security forces during clashes, on January 12, 2018, north of Ramallah in the West Bank. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Illustrative. Palestinians protesters throw a firebomb towards Israeli security forces during clashes, on January 12, 2018, north of Ramallah in the West Bank. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

A 24-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed in clashes on Monday with Israeli security forces in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said.

The ministry said Muhammad Ahmed Saleem, 24, was shot while taking part in a violent protest in the village of Jayyous, near the city of Qalqilya.

The Israel Defense Forces said that soldiers opened fired at demonstrators, but could not yet confirm the reports of Saleem’s death.

The army said that dozens of Palestinians took part in the protest, throwing rocks at IDF soldiers.

“Soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live rounds, after which the riot was dispersed,” the IDF said in a statement. “Reports claiming a Palestinian was killed in the riot are being looked into.”

A report from the official PA news site Wafa said Saleem died after being shot in the head during the clashes. An eyewitness told the Palestinian news site Ma’an that “light” clashes had broken out at the time of Saleem’s death.

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The witness told Ma’an that security forces opened fire from a distance of less than 20 meters.

Saleem, according to the report, had spent three years in an Israeli prison and was released in 2016. The report did not say what he was imprisoned for. Saleem, the report added, was the secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) at Al Quds Open University in Qalqilya.

Saleem was the 17th Palestinian killed since US President Donald Trump’s controversial declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, most of them in clashes with Israeli forces. Two of these 17 were Hamas members killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, while another was killed after stabbing an Israeli border guard while wearing what appeared to be an explosive belt. One Israeli has also been killed since December in a West Bank shooting attack.

AFP contributed to this report. 

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