Settlers attack Palestinian villages after West Bank killing

Attacks by Jewish settlers come a day after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli man in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli soldiers stand between Palestinians and a Jewish settler
Israeli soldiers stand between Palestinians and Jewish settlers following a settler attack on the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Burqa [Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo]

Jewish settlers have burst into several villages in the occupied West Bank, smashing homes and cars and beating up at least two people, Palestinian officials have said.

Friday’s attacks came a day after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli man in a shooting ambush in the territory.

The death of settler Yehuda Dimentman, killed when gunmen opened fire on his car near an illegal settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank late on Thursday, threatened to ignite further violence between Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.

Two other passengers in Dimentman’s vehicle were lightly wounded on Thursday.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities, said groups of settlers entered several Palestinian villages near the northern city of Nablus early on Friday, smashing up cars and homes. Two wounded Palestinians were taken to hospital.

In the Palestinian village of Qaryout, settlers broke into one house and tried to abduct a resident, Wael Miqbel, according to Daghlas.

Photos shared on social media showed Miqbel with bruises and swelling across his face, while other videos and photos published online showed confrontations between armed settlers and Palestinian residents.

Israeli soldiers stand between Palestinians and Jewish settlers following an attack on the village of Burqa, occupied West Bank [Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo]

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Jihad Salah, the head of Burqa village council in northwestern Nablus, said the settlers assaulted the village using firearms.

He added that they set the village’s barracks on fire and stoned a number of Palestinian homes.

The Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that settlers attacked Sebastia town, north Nablus, and smashed a number of Palestinian-owned vehicles and a car maintenance workshop.

Israeli leaders have pledged to find the assailants behind Thursday’s shooting and the army deployed additional forces to the area.

According to Wafa, at least three men from Burqa were arrested in overnight raids.

Jewish settlers throw stones towards Palestinian homes in Burqa, occupied West Bank, just after the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman [Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo]

The army said Friday the manhunt for the Palestinian gunmen was ongoing but gave no further details.

Dimentman’s car came under fire after leaving a Jewish seminary in the illegal outpost of Homesh, a former settlement evacuated as part of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

The latest attacks come amid an uptick in Israeli-Palestinian violence across the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

Earlier this month, an ultra-Orthodox Jew was left seriously injured after being stabbed by a Palestinian attacker outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

A week earlier, a Hamas member opened fire in the Old City, killing an Israeli man. Both attackers were killed by Israeli forces.

This week, Israeli troops killed another Palestinian man during a raid in the Ras al-Ain area in Nablus, occupied West Bank.

Earlier this month, Israeli troops also killed a Palestinian man in the village of Beita, occupied West Bank, during a protest against illegal settlements. Israeli forces killed a Palestinian minor after an alleged car-ramming at a military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank.

Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. The territories are now home to more than 700,000 Jewish settlers living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts, which Palestinians seek as parts of their future independent state.

Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

Palestinians, along with most of the international community, consider settlements to be a major obstacle to peace.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies