JERUSALEM (HPD) — Jewish settlers in the West Bank raided a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said Thursday, throwing stones at Palestinian cars and spraying irritant spray on Israeli troops trying to disperse them.
Wednesday night’s attack came days after a similar incident in the same area and amid rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over Israeli raids in the West Bank, as well as an increase in Palestinian gun attacks.
Also on Thursday, a 16-year-old Palestinian died from injuries he sustained in clashes with Israeli troops late last month, according to Palestinian authorities. Palestinians have held a general strike in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the death of an alleged Palestinian attacker.
The clash with settlers occurred near Huwara, a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank, near the city of Nablus, where a group of youths have taken up arms against Israel and in frustration with the authorities’ close collaboration on security. Palestinians and Israel.
Palestinian militants in the area have carried out several roadside shootings in recent weeks. There are a number of belligerent settlements in the area, whose residents often intimidate Palestinians and vandalize their property.
Critics accuse Israel of ignoring settler violence against Palestinians and treating them with impunity, while cracking down on Palestinian aggressors or protesters. In the past, settler violence has led to confrontations with soldiers that are often condemned by politicians but often go unresolved.
Dozens of settlers ran through the town and threw stones at Palestinian cars, the army said. The settlers used tear gas against the Israeli battalion commander and another soldier. Settlers later sprayed the irritant gas on two other soldiers at a nearby roadblock, the army said.
The settlers fled the scene in a car, according to police. A 20-year-old suspect was taken into custody and more arrests were expected, they added.
The chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, condemned the violence in a statement.
“This is a very serious incident involving disgraceful and disgraceful criminal behavior that requires swift and strict justice,” he said. Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid described the settlers as “dangerous criminals” in a tweet.
The violence came after months of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in clashes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem so far this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2015.
Israeli troops shot 16-year-old Mohammed Fadi Nuri in the stomach near the city of Ramallah last month. The minor died on Thursday. The general strike called for Thursday appealed to all sectors except essential services such as hospitals and bakeries.
Some schools also closed. The walkout was organized in mourning the shooting death of Uday Tamimi, the alleged Palestinian assailant who killed an Israeli soldier earlier this month. Authorities had been searching for Tamimi for more than a week, an operation that culminated on Wednesday when he shot a security guard at a West Bank settlement.
The violence has grown since a series of Palestinian attacks in the spring that left 19 dead in Israel, and more in recent clashes. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But young people who were throwing stones to protest Israeli incursions into Palestinian towns and people who were not participating in the confrontations have also been killed.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories that the Palestinians claim for a future state.
Since then, Israel has installed some 500,000 settlers in some 130 settlements in the West Bank.