Settlers rampage in West Bank villages after Israelis are killed

caption image,

Dozens of cars and houses have been set on fire by settlers in Hawara, a Palestinian official said

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian villages in the northern occupied West Bank after two settlers were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman.

A Palestinian man was killed and more than 100 others injured in violence near Nablus on Sunday night, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Dozens of cars and homes were also set on fire, according to a local official.

It followed the murder of the two Israelis – brothers from a nearby settlement – along a highway.

The Israeli army said it continued to search for the Palestinian who shot Hillel Yaniv, 22, and Yagel Yaniv, 20, and had deployed hundreds of additional troops.

On Monday afternoon, an Israeli man was shot and wounded in an attack on a highway north of Beit HaArava Junction, in the eastern West Bank near the Dead Sea, the Israel Ambulance Service said.

The 25-year-old was in critical condition and was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem by paramedics, it added.

The incidents came after Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged to ease tensions at a summit in Jordan.

Videos posted hours after the summit ended on Sunday showed a large crowd of Israeli settlers entering the village of Hawara, about 6 km south of Nablus, setting fires and throwing stones.

Ten-year-old Lamar Abusarees said her home was one of those on fire.

“My mother took us to a corner because there was no safe place. They broke all the windows while we were inside,” she told Reuters news agency.

A Palestinian official who monitors settlements in the Nablus region, Ghassan Daghlas, told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that 30 houses in Hawara were damaged or burnt down by stones and 15 vehicles were set on fire.

Settlers also set fire to a barn and three vehicles in nearby Burin, as well as a house and water tank in Asira al-Qabaliyya, he said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Sameh Aqtash, 37, died after being shot in the stomach during an attack by settlers in Zaatara.

Mr Aqtash’s brother, Abdul Moneim, said they were standing in front of a blacksmith when they were attacked by settlers.

“They left the area and then came back with the occupation [Israeli] army,” he told AFP news agency. “The army shot my brother, not the settlers.”

However, the Israeli army said that Mr. Aqtash was not shot by an Israeli soldier.

This part of the West Bank is under full Israeli control and the Palestinians criticized the Israeli security forces for not protecting them.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he held the Israeli government fully responsible for what he called “the acts of terrorism carried out by Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces”.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for calm and urged the settlers to allow the Israeli military and security forces to focus on finding the gunman who killed the two Israelis.

“I ask that when the blood is boiling and the mind is hot, you don’t take the law into your hands,” he said in a video statement.

UN envoy to the Middle East Tor Wennesland said he was “deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation”.

“There can be no justification for terrorism, nor for arson and revenge attacks against civilians,” he added.

caption image,

The Israeli brothers were driving through Hawara when a Palestinian rammed and shot their car

Settlers had called for a march to Hawara to “seek revenge” for the deadly attack on Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, who lived in the Har Bracha settlement 2 miles south of Nablus.

The brothers were driving through Hawara when a Palestinian man rammed their car and then shot them several times.

Their mother, Esty, said, “Words cannot describe this disaster. Instead of taking children to the canopy, we must bury them.”

She also called for unity among Israelis, stressing that “the responsibility to ensure security rests solely with the military.”

No Palestinian militant group has so far claimed to be behind the attack, but the gunman reportedly wore a shirt with the Nablus-based Lions’ Den insignia.

Members of the group were targeted last Wednesday in an Israeli raid on Nablus that killed 11 Palestinians, including several civilians – the deadliest operation in the West Bank since 2005.

Israeli forces have carried out waves of searches, arrests and intelligence gathering in Nablus and the nearby town of Jenin, saying they are trying to halt the spate of deadly attacks on Israelis by Palestinians.

Since the beginning of this year, more than 60 Palestinians – militants and civilians – have been killed by Israeli forces. On the Israeli side, 13 people have been killed in attacks – all civilians except a paramilitary police officer.

More than 600,000 Jews live in 140 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law, although Israel does not disputed.

Leave a Comment