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Palestinian man killed in Israeli settler raids in occupied West Bank

In News, World
April 13, 2024

Dozens of settlers stormed villages, setting fire to homes in search for missing teenager.

A Palestinian man has been killed in an attack by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, where tensions remain high amid fears of more violence.

Dozens of settlers stormed the village of al-Mughayyir, northeast of Ramallah, killing one Palestinian and wounding at least 25 people after a 14-year-old Israeli settler went missing.

The attacks that started on Friday with several Palestinian homes also set on fire were continuing on Saturday, when at least four Palestinians were wounded in the village of Duma and another person in al-Mughayyir.

In Duma, several homes and cars were set ablaze as Israeli forces looked on, locals told Al Jazeera.

The Israeli army said the body of the missing teenager had been found, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday condemning the “heinous murder” and “grave crime”.

Reporting from Abu Falah, north of Ramallah, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said at least 40 vehicles and homes were destroyed in the attack.

There are fears that more Palestinian homes could be targeted, reported Ibrahim, who witnessed several settlers still roaming the Palestinian village and at least two nearby Palestinian communities.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid criticised “violent riots” by settlers in the occupied West Bank and urged the country’s leadership to intervene to avoid more killing.

“The violent riots of the settlers are a dangerous violation of the law, and they interfere with the security forces operating in the area,” Lapid posted on X.

Netanyahu and Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir “should stop the lawlessness on the ground before more blood is spilled”, Lapid added.

INTERACTIVE Israeli settler violence on the rise-1710393573
[Al Jazeera]

‘Lack of accountability’

Raids by Israeli settlers and soldiers against occupied West Bank towns and villages have increased since the outbreak of the war on Gaza on October 7, killing hundreds of Palestinians.

Ibrahim reported that “settler attacks have been increasing and 2023 has been the highest on record when it comes to attacks by settlers against Palestinians”.

She noted that “already this year, we’ve been seeing the attacks from three per day to four per day. Palestinians say that the lack of accountability gives settlers the impunity to continue the attacks”.

Near Ein Siniya village in Ramallah, resident Abed Abu Awwad told Al Jazeera on Saturday that settlers blocked a road and threw stones at his car, which smashed a window.

Al Jazeera’s Ibrahim said that Israeli forces had set up a checkpoint preventing cars from going to al-Mughayyir and surrounding villages.

The Israeli army, which earlier said it had found the teenager’s body, posted on X that “security forces are continuing the pursuit after those suspected of carrying out the attack”.

Reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan said that Israeli army raids across the occupied West Bank have been taking place on a near-nightly basis in multiple locations.

“This is a strategy Israeli authorities have deliberately put in place in the occupied West Bank – they say they’re going after Hamas targets and anybody who is a fighter, but we’re seeing more and more Palestinian civilians being arrested and we see a lot more violence taking place within those areas,” Khan said.

The United States and United Kingdom have announced sanctions on Israeli settlers accused of committing human rights abuses against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Rights groups have accused the military of failing to halt settler violence or punish soldiers for wrongdoing.

The settlers are Israeli citizens who live on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are illegal under international law.

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