Palestinian killed, 300 injured after Israeli settlers storm West Bank towns
Jerusalem, Feb 27 (EFE).- A Palestinian has been killed and over 300 others wounded after Israeli settlers rampaged through towns in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian media reported Monday, amid rising tensions in the region.
Hundreds of settlers stormed the northern West Bank towns of Hawara, Burin, Zatara, Udala and Asira al-Qabaliyya Sunday night, setting homes and vehicles of Palestinians on fire.
Sameh Aqtash, 37, died of abdominal gunshot wounds in Zatara, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The Red Crescent said it had treated more than 100 injured people, adding that three of its ambulances were attacked.
Photos posted on social media showed settlers killing an entire herd of sheep and uprooting olive trees, as well as other crops belonging to Palestinian farmers.
Israeli president Isaac Herzog condemned the violent attacks by Jewish settlers saying: “I strongly condemn taking the law into our own hands, rioting and using violence against innocents. This is not our way.”
“We must allow the Israeli army, police and security forces to catch these vile terrorists and restore order immediately,” the statement added.
The violent rampage followed the killing of two Israelis in a shooting attack hours before.
The deceased, two brothers aged 22 and 20, used to live in the Israeli settlement of Har Brakha, located a few kilometers away from Hawara.
Early on Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli officials agreed during a meeting in Jordan to take steps to calm a surge in deadly violence in the region.
The talks in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba were the first of their kind in years, and were held with the participation of representatives from the United States, Egypt and Jordan.
Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet on the same day approved a draft bill that would impose the death penalty on Palestinians accused of “terrorism.” The proposal still has to pass several readings in the Israeli parliament before it enters into force.
Sunday’s attacks came after 11 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others were wounded during an Israeli military raid in Nablus on Wednesday, in what was one of the deadliest incidents for Palestinians in years.
At least 76 people have died so far this year: 63 Palestinians – an average of more than one a day – and 13 people on the Israeli side.
Many of the deaths in recent weeks were during clashes triggered by Israeli military operations in the West Bank, as well as deadly attacks launched by Palestinians against Israelis. EFE