A Palestinian man has died after he was stabbed by an Israeli settler in the village of Iskaka, in the central occupied West Bank region of Salfit, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health.
Health officials identified the victim as 27-year-old Ali Hassan Harb, who succumbed to a fatal stab wound to the chest on Tuesday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
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Local sources said that an altercation erupted after Israeli settlers attempted to take over a plot of Palestinian village land by setting up a tent on private property.
Harb and other residents intervened and that is when an Israeli settler stabbed and killed the young man, the health ministry said in the statement.
Israeli police in the West Bank said they have launched an investigation into the killing. They confirmed that a Palestinian man had been stabbed but claimed it was unclear who had carried out the attack.
“Police forces arrived at the scene from which a wounded Palestinian man was evacuated in a serious condition, apparently from a stab wound,” police said, citing medics, according to the Times of Israel.
“At this stage the identity of the stabber is unclear,” police said. No arrests were immediately made.
Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said in a statement that the man was stabbed by an Israeli settler while he was with his family on private land.
“Settlers arrived at the scene and attempted to set up a tent. Friction ensued and settlers left the place. Immediately afterward, soldiers arrived at the scene, and later the settlers returned,” Yesh Din said in a statement.
After the settlers returned, violence again broke out, “during which a settler pulled out a knife and stabbed the young man to death”, the organisation said.
Local authorities said the Israeli settlers reported being attacked in the area by a group of about 40 Palestinians with stones and clubs.
The large Israeli settlement of Ariel, south of Nablus, extends close to Iskaka, which is where the stabbing occurred.
Nearly 500,000 Jewish Israeli settlers live in more than 130 settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank, many of which are fully built up and now resemble suburbs or small towns. Nearly three million Palestinians live in the West Bank under Israeli military rule.
Yesh Din, which tracks Jewish nationalist violence in the West Bank, said 91 percent of police investigations into attacks by Israelis on Palestinians between 2005 and 2019 were closed without indictments.
The rise in settler violence in recent years, which targets Palestinians and Israeli activists, is often accompanied by Israeli forces standing idly by or actively supporting the settlers.