Home News Tensions rise in West Bank after Israeli teen found dead

Tensions rise in West Bank after Israeli teen found dead


An Israeli teenager’s body was found in the West Bank on Saturday, his disappearance and death sparking deadly riots by Israeli settlers in Palestinian villages and further raising tensions in the occupied territory.

Settlers launched a wave of mob violence in a Palestinian village near Ramallah on Friday and in at least two villages on Saturday after Israeli authorities announced teenager Benjamin Achmeier was found dead. attack.

Israeli police said 14-year-old Benyamin left a West Bank farming settlement on Friday morning to herd sheep but never returned. Israeli troops discovered his body on Saturday near the settlement of Maracheha Shalom in the central West Bank.

Israeli security officials said riots broke out the next day in Mugahil, a village near Ramallah, and in Douma, another Palestinian village. The official added that Israeli settlers, some of whom were armed, entered the village. There were reports that settlers opened fire.

Dozens of Palestinians and Israelis were wounded in clashes at various locations in the West Bank on Saturday, the Israeli military said in a statement. It described the incidents as “confrontations between Israeli civilians and Palestinians” in which “stones were thrown and shots were fired.” The statement said the army and police worked to disperse the crowd.

In Douma, attackers “covered the whole village” and some of them were armed, said resident Naser Dawabsheh. He said they set fire to several buildings and cars, bringing thick smoke to the village. He added that Israeli troops did not disperse the Israeli rioters but protected them.

On Friday, while the teenager remained missing, settlers burned Mugahil’s cars and buildings, Palestinian officials said. A Palestinian man, Jihad Abu Aliya, was killed along with 25 others after armed Israeli settlers stormed the village, village leader Amin Abu Aliya said. Injuried. In a video circulated by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, smoke can be seen billowing from burning cars and buildings.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the number of casualties in Mugayel continued to rise on Saturday, with at least three Palestinians injured, one of them seriously.

“Without order, there is no security,” said Na’asan Na’asan, 28, a resident of Mugayel. “They were shooting at us – why didn’t anyone come to protect us?”

The clashes underscore simmering tensions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where some 500,000 Israeli settlers live alongside some 2.7 million Palestinians. Israeli and Palestinian officials worry about the possibility of wider conflict in the region, where violence has increased sharply in recent months but there has been no widespread unrest.

Hours before Saturday’s clashes, Iran launched drones into Israeli territory in an apparent retaliation Syrian capital comes under air strikes On April 1, several senior Iranian commanders were killed in Damascus. The region has been bracing for an attack from Iran, which analysts and officials warn could trigger an Israeli response and potentially spark a wider conflict.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “heinous murder” of the Israeli teenager and vowed that Israel would “settlement” with his killers. Without explicitly mentioning the riots, he told the Israeli public to “allow security forces to carry out their work without interference” while investigations were conducted.

The Israeli military announced on Saturday that it would strengthen its forces in the West Bank by sending additional companies and police.

Tensions have been rising in the West Bank as much of the world’s attention has been focused on Gaza. Israel has led a devastating six-month campaign there since a surprise attack by the Palestinian armed group Hamas on October 7.

More than 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since the Hamas-led attacks, one of the deadliest periods in years, according to the United Nations. Palestinian militants occasionally attack Israeli soldiers and civilians, causing at least 14 deathsThe Israeli army launched a sweeping crackdown, arresting thousands of people.

In Gaza, The fierce fighting has subsided recently hit its lowest point in several months Israeli troops withdraw from the southern part of the affected area. But the pace of operations accelerated again this week as the military shifted its focus to the central Gaza Strip.

this Israeli military announced On Thursday, it began “Operation Precision” in central Gaza. It added in a statement on Saturday that its forces were continuing operations there and had destroyed Hamas infrastructure over the past day.

Hamas said in a statement on Friday that the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, “overcrowded with displaced people from all parts of the Gaza Strip,” had been hit by a “brutal attack” that left “dozens of people dead.” Martyred and Wounded”.

Khalil Farid, 57, said in a text message exchange on Friday that “the bombing and shelling have never stopped” since the Israeli attack began on Thursday afternoon. “The army did not give any warning about the operation,” said Mr. Farid, who lives in the camp. He added, “No one handed out leaflets and no one was told where to go or what to do.”

Three Palestinians were killed and others wounded in a reported attack on a United Nations school housing displaced people in Nuserat, the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs said on Friday. Palestinian civil defense authorities in Gaza said their rescuers had received “dozens of distress calls” after an Israeli attack on a school killed and injured several people. They said they were unable to evacuate people because it was too dangerous to enter the area.

Hiba Yazbek, Abu Bakr Bashir, Eric Schmidt and Michael D. Schell Contributed reporting.

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