Our website use cookies to improve and personalize your experience and to display advertisements (if any). Our website may also include cookies from third parties like Google Adsense, Google Analytics, and Youtube. By using the website, you consent to the use of cookies.

Settlers incensed over teen’s slaying rampage in Palestinian towns

ARMED Jewish settlers blocked roads, vandalised property and scuffled with Palestinians around towns and villages in the occupied West Bank, medics and witnesses said, after an Israeli teenager was killed in a suspected militant attack.

Israeli authorities said they were beefing up security forces to tamp down the flare-up, worried about a possible spread of violence from the Gaza war now in its seventh month.

The friction between settlers and Palestinians, at several locations between the city of Ramallah and northern Nablus, began on Friday after a 14-year-old Israeli went missing in the area. His body was discovered on Saturday, the military said.

Calling the killing a “terrorist attack”, Israel said the Palestinian suspects were being pursued. In a veiled reference to the boy’s fellow settlers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Israelis not to get in the way of the security forces.

But settlers blocked entrances to two Palestinian towns and threw rocks at passing cars, witnesses and municipal officials cited by the Palestinian news agency WAFA said. Some of the assailants fired live ammunition, officials quoted by Wafa said.

At least 20 Palestinians were wounded, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Israel’s top-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said one of its photographers was assaulted by settlers, some of whom wore Israeli army uniforms.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said settlers torched one of their cars and opened fire at their crewmen at Al-Mughayyer village near Ramallah.

READ:  Arab states say Palestinians must stay on their land as war escalates

Footage of cars and houses in flames circulated on social media. Reuters could not immediately authenticate the videos.

In a statement, the Israeli military said dozens of Israelis and Palestinians had been hurt in confrontations, some of which involved gunfire. It did not specify who did the shooting.Palestinian officials and medics said unlike the settlers, residents were unarmed.

On Friday, settlers entered a village and set houses and cars ablaze. One person was killed in that rampage, Palestinian medics said, though it was unclear whether he was shot by Israeli forces or settlers.

Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian group fighting Israeli forces on a mission to crush its militants in Gaza, issued a statement on Saturday urging Palestinians in the West Bank to fight against what it described as “settler militias”.

Though Israeli ground troops have largely been withdrawn from Gaza this month, airstrikes continue as well as incursions in Al-Nusseirat in the centre of the enclave. Five Palestinians were killed there on Saturday, medics said.

Violence in the West Bank was already on the rise before the Gaza war broke out on Oct. 7 with Hamas’ shock attack in southern Israel. It has since increased, with stepped-up Israeli raids and Palestinian street attacks.

The West Bank is among the territories the Palestinians seek for a state. Most countries around the world view Israeli settlements there as illegal, a view that Israel disputes.

READ:  Eight hurt in Palestinian car-ramming, stabbing in Tel Aviv
By MOHAMMED TOROKMAN

MORE FROM THIS SECTION