Israeli settler kills Palestinian who military says attempted to stab wound amid rising violence By Reuters

Ali Sawafta

AL-MUGAYIR, West Bank (Reuters) – An Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian who the military said was attempting a stabbing attack in a settlement in the occupied West Bank on Friday.

The incident came as several European countries condemned Israeli destruction and settler violence in the West Bank, which flared up again when Palestinian farmers said Jewish settlers fired on them as they worked on their farmland.

The military said the suspect entered a restricted area in the southern West Bank near the city of Hebron on Friday morning and attempted to stab a resident before being “neutralized.” No Israelis were injured, the report said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the unit that coordinates civil affairs with Israel said Alaa Qaisia, 28, was shot dead by “occupiers” south of Hebron.

Israeli media reported that the incident occurred when people in the Tene Omarim settlement were gathering for a prayer in honor of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

Video obtained by Reuters shows a man crawling under a closed metal gate, apparently holding an object that the military said was a knife. Another video shows soldiers sealing the synagogue with bureaucratic tape.

Kaisia’s sister-in-law, Nana, told Reuters that the youngest of the nine siblings worked intermittently, mostly kept to himself and was not a member of any armed groups. She said her brother Murad, her husband, was released six months ago after 17 years in an Israeli prison on charges of shooting at a settlement and injuring three people.

No armed groups have claimed to be a member of Kaisie.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has flared up in over a year, with frequent Israeli military raids and settler violence in the West Bank amid a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

Since January, more than 140 Palestinians and at least 19 Israelis and foreigners have been killed.

Israel occupied the West Bank, which the Palestinians want to make the core of an independent state, in the 1967 Middle East war. US-sponsored statehood talks have been frozen since 2014, while Israel maintained military rule over millions of Palestinians and continued to expand Jewish settlement.


Later on Friday, Bashar al-Karyuti, a field researcher for the St. Ives human rights group, said Jewish settlers were harassing Palestinian farmers in three different areas of the West Bank with the support of Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli military said they had no immediate comment.

In the village of al-Mugayir near the city of Ramallah, the residence of President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians said settlers shot and threw stones at them while they were cultivating their land and then set fire to their cars, leading to clashes.

“We were moving bales of hay when settlers arrived with soldiers and started shooting at us,” said Murad Abu Aliya, who said he counted at least 25 settlers who had come from the illegal Adei Ad outpost.

Attaf al-Naasan told Reuters that the settlers doused his car with fuel and set it on fire, while the soldiers watched and prevented him from reaching the car.

A Reuters witness saw at least four burned cars, bloodstains on the road and part of the field set on fire.

The Palestinian health ministry said it was treating five people who arrived from al-Mugayir, one with a critical bullet wound to the head and four others who were hit by stones and are in stable condition.

The military said that Israelis and Palestinians threw stones at each other in the area, resulting in injuries to both sides. It says the Israelis also fired into the air and set several vehicles on fire, and the forces responded using riot control equipment.

The European Union Delegation to the Palestinians issued statements condemning settler violence on Friday and called on Israel to “stop all confiscations and destruction in the occupied West Bank, return or compensate donor-funded humanitarian items, and allow unhindered humanitarian access.”

The military said an Israeli girl arrived in the West Bank settlement of Kochav Yaakov for treatment on Friday evening after apparently being hit by gunfire from indirect positions. He did not specify the source of the shooting, but said his forces scanned the area and found no security breaches.

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