Two Palestinians wounded in West Bank by Israelis

Jerusalem –

Palestinian health officials said Israeli settlers shot and seriously injured two Palestinians in the occupied northern West Bank early on Friday.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the two injured Palestinians were being treated at a hospital in the village of Qusra, near the city of Nablus in the West Bank. It did not identify a man.

A group of armed settlers from a nearby outpost descended on the village and Palestinians took to the streets to see what was going on late Thursday, said an Israeli settlement in the Nablus region. A Palestinian official, Gassan Douglas, said: One of his settlers opened fire on the inhabitants, shooting one man in the abdomen and another in the thigh. Douglas said the shooting was not provocative.

The Israeli military said soldiers had arrived to defuse the standoff. He said he knew Palestinians had been taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds. Israeli police said they were investigating.

In particular, attacks by settlers have surged in the northern West Bank. Many villages in the region are gradually wedged between settlements and unauthorized outposts housing particularly ideological settlers.

Last month, B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights group, documented a series of incidents near Nablus – from settlers attacking Palestinians with stones in Qusra to setting Palestinian cars on fire in Akraba. . Earlier this month, settlers shot and killed a Palestinian in the village of Salfit.

“We see these kinds of events here every few weeks,” Douglas said, explaining that settler violence was an attempt to force villagers off their land.

The United Nations has documented more than 820 attacks by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank last year, up from 496 in 2021. This includes property damage and physical attacks. The United Nations Humanitarian Department said it was the highest number recorded since 2006.

Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians want those lands for their long-awaited independent state. At least 700,000 Israeli settlers now live in dozens of settlements spread across the West Bank and protected by the Israeli army.

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