Palestinian Shot Dead by Settler in West Bank Clashes, IDF Officials Believe

38-year-old man is said to have been shot in the back in the village of Al-Mughayyir ■ Ten other Palestinians wounded, three in serious condition

Relatives of Palestinian Hamdi Na'asan react as his body is brought into a hospital morgue, Ramallah, West Bank, January 26, 2019.
Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

A Palestinian man was killed on Saturday and ten others wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers north of Ramallah, in the West Bank.

The military believes that an emergency responder from Adei Ad outpost is responsible for the fatal shots. The IDF Spokesperson's Unit earlier confirmed the death of the Palestinian, while spokespeople from the outpost in question only confirmed that settlers used live fire in the incident.

File photo: Undated photo of Hamdi Taleb Na'asan, Palestinian resident of Al-Mughayyir who was shot dead in clashes with Israeli settlers and soldiers on January 26, 2019.

In a statement, the Palestinian Health Ministry identified the fatality as 38-year-old Hamdy Taleb Na'asan, adding he was shot in the back. At least three of the Palestinian casualties are said to be wounded in serious condition. The army also said an Israeli involved in the incident was lightly wounded. 

Prior to the shooting, clashes between Palestinians and a group of Jewish settlers from the Adei Ad outpost erupted at an olive grove near the village of Al-Mughayyir.

IDF and Border Police forces were deployed to the scene at which point local emergency responders from the outpost fired in the air, which led to a larger riot.

Outpost residents said they had been attacked by Al-Mughayyir residents and that clashes were sparked after one of the settlers had been stabbed with a knife. The outpost's council said emergency responders fired only when "they felt in acute danger."

Amin Abu Aaliya, the head of the Al-Mughayyir village council, told Haaretz that a group of settlers tried attacking several houses in the north of the village. "They opened fire toward the houses, and dozens of young people were hurt," he said.

Abu Aaliya added that locals then contacted the IDF's District Coordination and Liaison. "Soldiers had got to the scene, but they also started firing," he said. "We're not entirely sure who has hit by military fire and who has hit by settler (shooting), but there undoubdelty are some hit by the settlers, who had attacked the houses unprovoked."

According to him, "the situation now is very tense, people started gathering at the village center."

The Islamic Jihad organization in the West Bank dubbed the incident "an atrocious crime conducted with the backing of Zionist army and terrorism against the residents of Al-Mughayyir." It said it represents "another chapter in a long series of aggressions by settlers, who threat Palestinian villages."

Israeli soldiers confront Palestinians protesting against land seizures for Jewish settlements, in the village of al-Mughayyir, north of Ramallah, West Bank, January 25, 2019.
Abbas Momani/AFP

Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, said "The government of Israel bears full responsibility over this despicable crime today in Al-Mughayyir."

Al-Mughayyir residents told Haaretz earlier this week the Civil Administration, a branch of the military government, promised them in the past that the Adei Ad outpost would be evacuated, but that didn’t happen, and so they started holding demonstrations every Friday.

"We feel unsafe on our own land," Abu Aaliya said. "How are we to protect ourselves and our lands? It’s a natural reaction: Either to turn to violence or to popular protest. We chose the path of popular protest.”

The Palestinian Health Ministry said on Friday a 17-year-old teen was killed by Israeli military fire near Ramallah. The IDF said Ayman Fares was she after throwing stones at cars driving on a main West Bank road.

A 25-year-old Palestinian was also killed on Friday in clashes with Israeli forces near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, during a weekly protest along the Israeli border.