Israel Palestine Conflict

Palestinian killed after Israeli settlers attack two West Bank villages

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Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank late on Saturday, killing one man and torching a car, Palestinian authorities said.

The Palestinian ambulance service said a 38-year-old man in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, in the northern West Bank, was shot in the chest and died as residents confronted settlers and Israeli soldiers.

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The Israeli military said soldiers arrived at the scene and used riot dispersal means and live fire to break up the confrontation between residents and settlers. It said Palestinians shot fireworks in response and an Israeli and four Palestinians were injured. The incident was being examined and had been handed over to police, it said.

In another incident, Wajih al-Qat, head of the local council of the village of Madama near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, said a group of about 15 settlers burned the car and broke the windows of a house with stones.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the incident.

The attacks are the latest in a series of similar incidents involving settlers that have drawn condemnation from world leaders including US President Joe Biden, whose administration is set to impose visa bans on extremist settlers.

The West Bank, which the Palestinians want as part of a future independent state, has seen a surge of violence in recent months as Jewish settlements have continued to expand and US-backed peacemaking efforts have stalled for nearly a decade.

The violence, at a more-than-15-year high this year, surged further after Israel launched an invasion of the separate enclave of Gaza in response to the deadly attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas in southern Israel on October 7.

Yesh Din, a human rights group that monitors settler violence, said there had been at least 225 incidents of settler violence in 93 Palestinian communities since the war started.

Prior to Saturday’s incident, it said at least nine Palestinians had been killed in such attacks.

In a separate incident near Nablus, Palestinian authorities said a 14-year-old boy died of his wounds after he was shot during an incident in which the Israeli military said he brandished a knife at soldiers on a checkpoint.

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