Home Emergency Shooting kills Israeli motorist after settlers rampage through Palestinian town

Shooting kills Israeli motorist after settlers rampage through Palestinian town

A 37-year-old Palestinian man, Sameh Hamdallah Mahmoud Aqtash, was shot and killed by Israeli fire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Aqtash was killed while trying to shut the village’s gate and shouting to the stone-throwing mob that the villagers didn’t want any trouble, his nephew Fadi Aqtash told NBC News in a telephone interview.

This didn’t deter the attackers, he said, who gathered in ever greater numbers and were joined by members of the army.

“They came in towards our houses and started shooting with no reason, shooting everywhere. One bullet hits my uncle abdomen,” Aqtash said. “They shot him as he was next to the gate of his house.”

NBC News was not able to independently verify Aqtash’s account.

A spokesperson for the Israeli army said it was unaware of any Israel Defense Forces involvement in the rampage.

“From what we know at the moment, no IDF soldiers were involved in this incident. For further comments please refer to the Israeli Border Police,” a spokesman told NBC News.

The Border Police were not available for comment.

Some 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which are territories the Palestinians want to use to build a future state. The international community, including the Biden administration, considers the settlements illegal and obstacles to peace.

Two other people were shot and wounded in Hawara, one was stabbed, and another was beaten with an iron bar, the Palestinian Red Crescent medical service said, according to The Associated Press. Almost 100 other Palestinians were being treated for tear gas inhalation, the news agency added. 

Israel’s military said Monday that it had dispatched several hundred more troops to the area, and that a manhunt was underway for the gunman who killed the Israeli settlers over the weekend — brothers Hillel Menachem Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv, 19 — and the gunman who killed the Palestinian man. Ten Israelis were arrested after the violence in Hawara, the military said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he held the Israeli government responsible for what he called “the terrorist acts carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces tonight.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the incidents in a video statement posted to Twitter on Sunday. “A terrible tragedy occurred today,” he said of the settlers’ killings, adding that Israeli soldiers were in pursuit of the gunman. “I ask even when the blood is boiling, not to take the law in one’s hands,” he added.

Some members of the ruling coalition — seen as the most right-wing in Israel’s history — appeared to praise Sunday’s violence as a deterrence against Palestinian attacks.

“I look favorably on what happened in Hawara,” Tzvika Foghel, a lawmaker from the ultranationalist Jewish Power party, said in an interview with IDF radio. “I want to see every place where terrorists come out burning.”

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