A 26-year-old Palestinian was killed Tuesday in the West Bank by Israeli army fire near Ramallah, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Israeli defense officials have confirmed the fatality and said the circumstances of the incident are being investigated.
Nihad Amin al-Barghouti was shot in the village of Nabi Saleh, according to a local activist, after an Israeli force entered the village northwest of Ramallah.
The IDF spokesman reported that dozens of Palestinians approached an army post at a main highway near Nabi Saleh and began throwing stones at the soldiers there. The soldiers responded using crowd dispersal means and in the case of one suspect whom the soldiers believed was a potential threat, attempted to arrest him according to a procedure that included live weapons fire.
A friend of al-Barghouti told Haaretz the victim had come to Nabi Saleh with another friend in a private vehicle. He added that there were no clashes between the army and Palestinians taking place at the scene.
An eyewitness to the incident who said he came to Barghouti’s assistance immediately after he was hit, claimed that there were no clashes at the time of the shooting. Four or five Israeli soldiers had arrived at the scene from a nearby watchtower and surveyed the area near the village on foot, he said, adding that he had not seen anyone throwing stones.
The witness said he heard two shots, one in the air and another that hit Barghouti. “I approached him. He was dazed and I managed to arouse him and at first, we didn’t understand exactly what had happened. I tried to stop the bleeding until an ambulance arrived from Ramallah to take him to the hospital,” the witness added.
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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Barghouti’s death was the result of a sort of organized terrorism by Israeli security forces. He called on the international community to intervene to stop what he described as the aggression and ongoing killing of Palestinians by Israel.
Palestinian activist Bassem al-Tamimi also claimed that no disturbances preceded the shooting, which he called "cold-blooded murder with no justification."
Barghouti, who had served time in Israeli prison, was a resident of Kafr Ayn, a nearby village. Nabi Saleh, where he was reportedly killed, was once the scene of weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. The protests stopped in 2016, after six years, when the IDF began using snipers and live ammunition against the unarmed inhabitants.