Settler held on suspicion of attacking, wounding 2 Palestinians with an ax
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Settler held on suspicion of attacking, wounding 2 Palestinians with an ax

Court extends remand of man from ultra-Orthodox settlement of Emmanuel by three days, motive for attack not clear

Illustrative: Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers and settlers at the entrance to the northern West Bank village of Qusra on December 4, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
Illustrative: Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers and settlers at the entrance to the northern West Bank village of Qusra on December 4, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

A court on Sunday extended the remand of a Jewish settler who was arrested on suspicion of attacking and lightly wounding two Palestinians with an ax in the northern West Bank.

The arrest comes amid rising tension in the West Bank following the suspected killing of a Palestinian by settlers on Saturday.

The man, identified as Yosef Nahman Meir, 23, from the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Emmanuel, was apprehended by IDF soldiers on Saturday in a field near the village of Dir Istiya, just south of Emmanuel.

According to the Ynet news site, for an unknown reason, Meir attacked the two men who were working in a field. When IDF soldiers arrived at the scene he cursed them and called them “Nazis,” before trying to flee.

The two men were treated by the Red Crescent for light injuries. It was not immediately clear why Meir was in the field or carrying an ax.

A Court on Sunday ordered Meir held for a further three days.

The case comes as police on Sunday summoned residents of the Adei Ad settlement for questioning after an armed resident apparently shot dead a Palestinian man during clashes in the West Bank a day earlier.

Hamdi Naasan, 38, was killed near the Ramallah-area village of Mughayyir. There were conflicting claims as to how the deadly incident unfolded. Local Palestinians say the settlers fatally shot Nassan during an altercation, but Adei Ad residents claim their security guards fired shots in the air to chase away Palestinians attackers who stabbed a Jewish man.

Tear gas is fired at Palestinian protesters by Israeli troops during clashes in al-Mughayyir village near Ramallah on January 27, 2019. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces said initial indications were that a settler from Adei Ad had a “physical confrontation” with several Palestinians and was slightly hurt.

“Shortly thereafter, a conflict erupted between Israeli civilians and Palestinians in the area, in which live rounds were fired by the civilians,” the IDF said in a statement. “One Palestinian died and several others are injured.”

Some 3,000 Palestinians attended Naasan’s funeral in Mughayir on Sunday. Mourners called for vengeance as they carried his body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag and the yellow banner of the Fatah party of PA Presdident Mahmoud Abbas.

Ali Hassan, who witnessed Saturday’s clashes, said during the funeral that a group of around eight settlers dressed all in white arrived at the northern entrance of the village.

Palestinians mourn during the funeral of Hamdi Nassan, 38, in the village of Mughayir in the West Bank on January 27, 2019. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

“We didn’t know what they wanted, we went to meet them and they started shooting,” Hassan said.

He said Nassan was helping evacuate other wounded Palestinians from the scene when he was himself hit, and that Israeli soldiers saw the incident but did not immediately intervene.

On Saturday, the head of the Mughayir village said also said the settlers had opened fire before the IDF moved in.

“At the beginning it was settlers shooting, then the army came and fired tear gas,” he told AFP by phone. Asked who shot Nassan, he said it was settlers.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov called the 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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