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Israeli settlers ransack West Bank village, killing 1 Palestinian, injuring 25 others

JERUSALEM (AP) — Dozens of angry Israeli settlers stormed into a Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Friday, shooting and burning homes and cars. The carnage killed one Palestinian and injured 25 others, Palestinian health officials said.

The violence is the latest in an escalation in the West Bank that has accompanied the war in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli rights group said settlers were searching for a 14-year-old boy missing from their settlement. After the carnage, Israeli troops said they were still searching for the teenager.

The killing came after an Israeli raid killed two Palestinians overnight, including a Hamas activist, during a clash with Israeli forces.

Palestinian health officials say more than 460 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces since the war began in October.

Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said settlers broke into the village of al-Mughayyir on Friday evening, looking for the Israeli boy. The group said settlers were shooting and burning houses in the village.

Videos posted to X by the rights group show dark clouds of smoke billowing from burning cars as gunshots ring out. A photo posted by the group showed what appeared to be a crowd of masked settlers.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said one man was taken to hospital dead and 25 others were treated for their injuries. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said eight of the injured were hit by live settler fire.

The deceased man was later identified by his family as 26-year-old Jehad Abu Alia. His father, Afif Abu Alia, said he was shot but did not know whether the fatal bullet was fired by an armed settler or an Israeli soldier.

“My son left with others to defend our land and our honor, and that’s what happened,” Afif Abu Alia said from a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where his son’s body lay. been transported.

The attack was condemned by Mohamed Mustafa, the new Palestinian Prime Minister.

The Israeli army said it was searching for the 14-year-old boy and that its forces opened fire when stones were thrown at the soldiers by Palestinians. The soldiers also chased Israeli settlers out of the village.

“For now, the violent riots have been dispersed and there are no Israeli civilians present in the city,” the statement said.

U.S. officials, including President Joe Biden, have repeatedly expressed concerns about a surge in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank since the start of the war between Israel and the militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Rights groups have long accused the military of failing to stop settler violence or punish soldiers for wrongdoing.

Earlier Friday, two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the northern West Bank, Palestinian doctors and the army said. Hamas said one of those killed was a local commander.

The army said the target of the soldiers’ raid was Mohammed Daraghmeh, a local Hamas commander. Daraghmeh was killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers who discovered weapons in his car. The army claimed that Daraghmeh planned attacks against Israeli targets, but provided no evidence. He also said the attackers threw explosives at the soldiers.

The war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, when Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, in a surprise attack and incursion into southern Israel. Around 250 people were taken hostage by the militants and taken to Gaza.

Israel announced Friday that it had opened a new crossing for aid trucks to hard-hit northern Gaza as part of ramping up aid deliveries to the besieged enclave. However, the United Nations says the increase in aid is not being felt in Gaza due to ongoing distribution difficulties.

Six months of fighting in Gaza have plunged the small Palestinian territory into a humanitarian crisis, leaving more than a million people on the brink of famine.

Israeli bombings and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 33,600 Palestinians and injured more than 76,200, according to the Health Ministry. The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count, but says women and children account for two-thirds of the deaths.

Israel claims to have killed more than 12,000 militants during the war, but it has provided no evidence to support this claim.


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