Middle East

Palestinian villagers attacked in wake of Israeli settler killings, Palestinian official says

By Kareem Khadder, CNN

Jerusalem CNN  —  Dozens of Palestinian villagers were attacked by Israeli settlers overnight in the wake of the killing of four settlers in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, a Palestinian official who monitors settler violence told CNN Wednesday.

At least 37 villagers were injured by live or rubber-coated bullets, stones, or tear gas according to the official, Ghassan Douglas.

He said 147 vehicles were damaged with stones or set on fire, including an ambulance, and that 23 houses and 16 shops were damaged, and crops set on fire in fields.

The violence was reminiscent of settler attacks in and around the village of Huwara in February in response to the killing of two Israeli settler brothers in the village. February’s violence was so severe that the commander of Israeli forces in the West Bank called it a “pogrom,” evoking historic memories of ethnic violence targeting Jews.

The attacks overnight on Tuesday took place over a wide area of the northern West Bank, from Turmus’ayya east of Ramallah to Deir Sharaf west of Nablus, he said. The area is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north from Jerusalem.

Different Israeli officials sent different messages in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting of the settlers which included two teenagers, a man in his 20s and a man in his 60s.

Scorched cars, including some junked for spare parts, left in the West Bank village of A Laban al-Sharkiyeh on June 21, 2023.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari urged people not to take the law into their own hands.

But far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, speaking at the scene of the killings near Eli, called on settlers to arm themselves to avoid becoming sitting ducks for Palestinian attacks.

The IDF, which boosted its troop numbers in the area in the wake of the February attacks, did not immediately respond to CNN request for comment on the overnight violence.

On Monday, an Israeli raid in Jenin, one of the tensest cities in the occupied West Bank, erupted into a massive firefight that left at least seven Palestinians dead and dozens wounded.

The following day, two Palestinian gunmen shot dead four Israelis near the settlement of Eli in the West Bank. Both gunmen were subsequently killed by Israeli forces. Hamas, the Palestinian militant movement, claimed the two gunmen as members. It said the attack was “a natural response” to the Israeli raid on Jenin a day earlier.

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