Five Palestinians shot dead in West Bank violence

Incidents come as Netanyahu set to put right wing Ben-Gvir in charge of police

An Israeli soldier stands guard after a protest against the settler outpost of Evyatar in Beita village near Nablus. EPA
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Five Palestinians have been shot dead in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinian authorities said on Tuesday.

There were reports of four separate incidents involving fatalities, one near the village of Beit Ummar, near the West Bank city of Hebron, and two near Ramallah, in the villages of Kafr Ein and Al Mughayir. The Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry confirmed the men's death.

The Israeli army said its vehicles had come under attack near Beit Ummar and had returned fire. Palestinian officials reported seven people were injured in the incident.

In a separate incident near the Israeli West Bank settlement of Kokhav Ya'akov, a man was shot dead after driving his car into a woman, who was seriously injured, at a checkpoint. Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency service, confirmed the death of the man, as said the woman was in hospital.

The army later shot a man it said tried to hurl a firebomb towards soldiers in Al Mughayir. His death was confirmed by the Palestinian health ministry on Tuesday evening.

Palestinian towns in the West Bank have been the scene of intensified raids by Israel since Palestinians carried out several street attacks in its cities in March.

The worsening violence comes as the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu is set to appoint Itamar Ben-Gvir in a new role of national security minister, which would entail overseeing Israeli police operations in the occupied West Bank.

Mr Ben-Gvir has a history of far-right extremist views, having been a member of Kach, a US and Israeli-designated terrorist group that was linked to the massacre of 29 worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1994.

He has since claimed his views have moderated, saying that he no longer wants to deport Israeli-Arabs and that he has “grown up”.

But he was widely criticised this month for attending a memorial service for Kach founder Meir Kahane, an ultranationalist Rabbi who was charged with attempting to blow up the Iraqi embassy in Washington DC, before being assassinated in 1990.

On Tuesday, Israeli publication Haaretz reported Mr Ben-Gvir intended to appoint far-right agitator Chanamel Dorfman to a senior position in his National Security Ministry. Mr Dorfman has been accused of instigating violence in the West Bank, including against the Israeli Defence Forces, Haaretz reported.

More than 138 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year, making it the deadliest year in the area since 2006. The Israeli army said most of the Palestinians killed had been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting against Israeli army incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek those territories for their independent state.

Updated: November 30, 2022, 4:07 AM