Conflicts & War

Israeli settlers shoot Palestinian civilians as violence escalates in the West Bank

Jerusalem, Oct 11 (EFE).- In the most severe case of settler violence against Palestinian civilians in recent months, Israeli settlers killed three Palestinians and wounded at least six others in a town south of Nablus in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority reported.

The incident occurred near the village of Qusra, about 15 kilometers south of Nablus. According to local witnesses quoted by the Palestinian agency Wafa, Israelis from the Esh Kodesh settlement attacked Palestinians on the nearby road.

The settlers fired at the Palestinians and their cars during the confrontation, causing at least nine serious injuries.

The wounded were taken to two hospitals in Nablus, where one died, while two others, aged 16 and 17, also died in a local medical center, according to the Palestinian Sanad agency.

Sanad said a six-year-old boy was injured, citing Palestinian Red Crescent sources.

This brings to 11 the number of Palestinians killed by settlers in the West Bank since January, in a year marked by increasingly violent clashes between the local population and ultra-Zionist Israeli settlers, who have established themselves there to assert their right to the land.

The settlement of Esh Kodesh, a nucleus of a dozen families one kilometer south of Qusra, is one of more than a hundred so-called “outposts” illegal under Israeli law.

The Israeli government legalizes more than 130 settlements. Still, they are illegal under international law, covering almost ten percent of the West Bank.

The residents of these centers often harass the local population and destroy their crops or property because they believe the West Bank should be entirely Jewish.

The latest deaths bring to 27 Palestinians killed and 130 wounded in the West Bank since Hamas, the Islamist organization that rules Gaza, launched a surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, which has left more than 3,000 dead.

On Wednesday morning, a Palestinian was also shot dead by Israeli police in Bethlehem under unclear circumstances.

Late Tuesday night, police also shot and killed two youths participating in a protest in the Silwan neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem after they confronted officers with rocks and fireworks.

Also on Tuesday, security forces shot two other youths dead during a protest near the city of Jenin in the far north of the West Bank. In contrast, six others were killed in Hebron.

A man in Tulkarem died, too, when he was hit by shrapnel from possibly a rocket fired from Gaza or the Israeli anti-missile projectile that intercepted it.

The occupied West Bank and Israel are experiencing the greatest spiral of violence since the Second Intifada (2000-05). So far this year, 231 Palestinians have died in the conflict, most militiamen in armed clashes with Israeli troops and attackers, and civilians, including 40 minors.

At the same time, new Palestinian armed groups have increased in the area, carrying out more and more attacks and leaving 32 dead on the Israeli side, most of them settlers, five minors, and four security personnel. EFE

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