ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Settlers kill West Bank Palestinian during clash — PA media

Wafa says Ahmed Mustafa Assi shot dead when settlers and soldiers entered Qarawat Bani Hassan; IDF says troops were called to disperse skirmish, used live ammunition

Illustrative: Israeli Border Police officers in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, northern West Bank, July 26, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli Border Police officers in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, northern West Bank, July 26, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli settlers during a clash in the West Bank town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency reported Saturday.

According to the report, settlers entered the town together with IDF soldiers. Ahmed Mustafa Assi, a 38-year-old father of six, was then shot, the report said. It cited locals as saying troops prevented medical services or others from helping Assi.

Though the report said that settlers shot Assi, it did not provide any details of exactly what happened.

The IDF said it was looking into the incident.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority Health Ministry reported that three other people were lightly injured during the clashes.

A video clip showed masked men accompanied by IDF soldiers, including a military jeep, entering the town. The video also showed that a car and the front of a building were set on fire, and the windows smashed.

The Israel Defense Forces said that troops were sent to the town along with the security officer of a settlement in the area after learning of a clash between settlers and local Palestinians. The IDF statement said that troops used riot dispersal means, including shots fired in the air. It said some of the Palestinian residents hurled fireworks at soldiers and an Israeli was lightly injured. Four Palestinians were also injured. The statement said that soldiers gave medical assistance to those injured and that the incident was being investigated.

A military source told Haaretz that Palestinians threw rocks at settlers and the Shomron Regional Council reported that a settler was lightly injured in the incident.

Qarawat Bani Hassan Mayor Ibrahim Aasi told Haaretz that settlers arrived with soldiers, including residents of an outpost near the area. He said settlers have on several recent occasions entered the agricultural areas of the town as well as those of another neighboring village, driving off residents and then working the lands for themselves.

In the weeks following the October 7 onslaught by Hamas against Israel, in which 3,000 terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people in southern Israel, most of them civilians, Palestinians have alleged a severe backlash in the West Bank against Palestinian civilians, who have allegedly been repeatedly attacked and harassed by extremists.

According to Israeli activist groups such as B’tselem and Peace Now, which oppose Israeli rule in the West Bank, as well as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the wave of harassment has led hundreds of Palestinians in vulnerable rural communities to abandon their homes and villages.

Wafa also reported Saturday that settlers entered the town of Madama, set fire to a car, and threw rocks at a home. There were no reports of injuries.

Earlier Saturday a 14-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by soldiers near the town of Tell, close to Nablus. He was identified by Wafa as Hasan Majdi Akobi, a resident of Nablus.

The IDF said in a statement that the teenager arrived at a military checkpoint manned by reservist soldiers, raising their suspicions. As they were questioning him, he pulled out a knife and was shot. He was taken to a local hospital and declared dead.

The Red Crescent reported on another incident in Awarta, close to Nablus, in which a seven-year-old boy was shot in the throat during an IDF incursion. Three others were also injured. The incident was under investigation, Haaretz reported.

In another clash over the weekend, IDF soldiers and a civilian were seen moving Palestinians out of an area at gunpoint. The Israeli Yesh Din rights group published a video showing some soldiers and one civilian approaching a group of Palestinians in an open area and shouting, “Again you have come back.”

The soldiers, one of whom shoved a Palestinian man with the barrel of his gun, shouted at the group to move back beyond a “line” that is not seen in the video. The soldiers also shouted curses and at least one of them cocked his gun and threw a rock at the Palestinians after they were already out of the camera view.

Yesh Din said the incident happened close to the settlement of Negohot and that there have recently been previous similar incidents in the area.

In response to the incident, the IDF said: “The conduct of the force in the footage is unprofessional and contrary to the values ​​of the IDF. The incident is being investigated by the brigade commander and will be dealt with accordingly.”

Deadly violence continued Sunday, with Palestinian Adnan Issam Zaid shot dead by soldiers in Qalqilya during clashes as Israeli security forces entered the town to carry out arrests, Wafa reported.

On Friday, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during meetings last week that the Biden administration was preparing to announce a series of visa bans against Israeli settlers involved in attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.

Since October 7, Israeli troops have arrested some 2,000 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,100 affiliated with Hamas. According to the Palestinian Authority health ministry, more than 200 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, and in a few cases settlers.

Based on military estimates, the vast majority of the Palestinians killed since October 7 were shot dead during clashes amid arrest raids. Around 60% of them, according to data seen by The Times of Israel, were armed with either a firearm or an explosive device.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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