Conflicts & War

Palestinian killed by Israeli fire during West Bank protests

Jerusalem, May 28 (EFE).- A Palestinian man died Friday after being shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the construction site of a new Jewish settlement near the West Bank town of Beita.

Zakaria Hamayel, 28, was struck in the chest by live ammunition, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)’s Wafa news agency said, adding that a score of other protesters were injured.

Wafa said that several hundred people took part in the demonstration against plans for an Israeli settlement on a hill overlooking Beita, which lies 9 km (5.6 mi) south of Nablus, the second-most-populous city in the West Bank.

Israeli soldiers used tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the demonstrators, according to Wafa.

Injuries were likewise reported as a result of the reaction of Israeli security forces to Friday’s protests against settlements near the cities of Ramallah, where the PNA is headquartered, and Qalquiliya.

Hamayel’s death brought to three the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since a May 21 cease-fire put an end to more than a week of strife that claimed nearly 250 lives in Gaza and a dozen more in Israel.

For 11 days, Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded the densely populated 365 sq. km (141 sq mi) enclave, strikes that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government ordered as retaliation for the more than 4,400 rockets launched at Israel from Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian militants.

The eruption was spurred by events in East Jerusalem, where Israeli security forces responded to Palestinian protests against plans to evict Arabs from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood by barring Muslims from holding public gatherings in the Old City during the holy month of Ramadan.

As the disturbances grew more intense, Hamas threatened a military response and the first rocket barrage from Gaza came on Monday, May 11, hours after Israeli forces raided Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site.

While Palestinians demonstrated Friday in the West Bank, Israeli peace activists gathered at the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah to denounce the home evictions. EFE pd/dr

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