Two Palestinians killed and scores injured in night of West Bank violence

Israeli security forces entered the West Bank to secure the settlers’ storming of the Shrine of Joseph

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces erupted near Joseph's Tomb in Nablus overnight. AFP
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Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Abdul Rahman Atta, 23, and Huthaifa Faris, 27, were near killed near the village of Shufa.

Israel's military said it had "neutralised" two gunmen that fired at an Israeli car.

In the nearby city of Tulkarm, five Israeli border police officers were injured during a raid.

Israel's military said three officers were severely injured and two "lightly to moderately".

It added that an initial inquiry suggested the injuries were caused by an "explosive device".

A local arm of Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for targeting the soldiers.

The raid came amid widespread violence throughout the West Bank on Thursday.

Dozens of Palestinians suffered injuries and gas inhalation in overnight clashes with Israeli forces, which raided the eastern area of the city of Nablus, to secure the settlers’ storming of the Shrine of Joseph, a health official said.

Two Palestinians were injured by live bullets in the chest and hand, a third by shrapnel in the back and foot, and a fourth by a gas bomb to the head, said Ahmed Jibril, director of ambulance and emergency at the Red Crescent in Nablus, on Thursday.

About 120 others had to cope with suffocation, the official said.

The clashes erupted after Israeli security forces entered the West Bank city accompanied by a military bulldozer, to secure the settlers’ storming of the Shrine of Joseph.

Later, dozens of settlers, protected by Israeli forces, stormed the shrine of Joseph and performed Talmudic rituals.

Palestinians reportedly burnt tyres and threw Molotov cocktails and explosives at the Israeli forces and bulldozers.

Videos on social media also showed armed clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers in Nablus overnight.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated with the Palestinian Fatah group, announced that its fighters were able to target an Israeli military bulldozer with an explosive device east of the city of Nablus as well.

Army raids

The northern West Bank city has been a rocked by frequent and fatal Israeli army raids and gun battles this year.

As Jews celebrate Sukkot – the week-long Feast of Tabernacles that marks the fall harvest and commemorates the desert wandering of the Jews during the Exodus – processions of ultra-Orthodox Jews through the Old City's narrow streets have led to numerous spitting incidents and left Jerusalem on edge.

The mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, is the most sensitive flashpoint in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The compound is also sacred for Jews because it is widely believed to be the historic site of Jewish temples.

Violence in the West Bank has worsened over the past 15 months, with increased Israeli raids, Palestinian street attacks and settler rampages in Palestinian villages.

Palestinian Christians, clergy and pilgrims have also reported a surge in Israeli violence, mostly at the hands of ultraorthodox Jews in the city for Sukkot.

Videos of Jews attacking Christians, mostly by spitting at them, were widely circulated on social media on Monday.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who oversees the country's police force, told Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday that “spitting on Christians is not a criminal case.”

“Not everything is worth imprisonment,” Mr Ben-Gvir added.

His comment fuelled more outrage, particularly among Palestinians.

Updated: October 05, 2023, 11:23 AM