Child Among 2 Palestinians Killed In Latest Israeli Firing

The West Bank has been on edge since Israel stepped up its crackdown on the area last spring after a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel.

Israel-Palestine conflict | Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian in the northern West Bank on Saturday, Palestinian health officials said, while an 8-year-old child died from injuries sustained in a car ramming attack in Jerusalem a day earlier.

As night fell, warning sirens sounded in southern Israel as Palestinian militants fired a missile from the Gaza Strip that was intercepted by Israeli air defenses, the Israeli military said. There was no immediate statement from Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza.

Saturday’s events were the latest escalation in months of mounting violence in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

In the northern West Bank, near Salfit, a farming village with olive groves, video footage showed Israeli settlers hurtling down the hills and charging into the town. As Palestinians poured into the streets to see what was going on, an Israeli settler opened fire, killing a 27-year-old villager, said Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian official who oversees Israeli settlements in the Nablus region. The settlers dispersed when the Israeli military arrived, he said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the killed villager as Methqal Rayan and said he was shot in the head. The video shared by the village council shows the settlers firing at least 10 shots at the residents.

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Douglas said the northern West Bank has seen an intense spate of settler violence in recent days. On Friday, he said, immediately after the autoram attack in Jerusalem that killed three Israelis, settlers similarly poured into the village and stole several sheep from a farmer. Settlers attacked and injured Palestinians trying to defend the farmer, he said.

Israeli police launched an investigation into the shooting of the Palestinian, the military said. It was said that the Israeli security forces de-escalated the situation after the Palestinian was taken to the hospital.

In Jerusalem, Asher Menahem Paley, 8, died a day after a Palestinian rammed a car into a bus stop in an Israeli settlement in the eastern half of the contested capital that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War. The Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem announced his death on Saturday. His 6-year-old brother was killed in the car ramming along with a man in his 20s.

After the attack, Israel’s new hard-line government promised a tough response. Almost immediately, Israeli police arrested and interrogated the relatives of the alleged attacker, 32-year-old Hussein Qaraqa, from the run-down Issawiya neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

Qaraqa’s family said he was born in Jerusalem but has family in Bethlehem. His uncle, 63-year-old Adnan Qaraqa in Bethlehem, told The Associated Press that his nephew had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

According to Qaraqa, Hussein’s mental health problems began in 2008 when he was arrested for the first of several minor offences. He claimed that Israeli interrogators severely beat Hussein in detention from which he emerged “irrevocably changed.”

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A few years later, Hussein fell from a crane at a construction site, his uncle said, and suffered a serious injury that worsened his mental condition. Hussein bounced between psychiatric wards for years, Qaraqa added, and was released from a hospital just two days before plowing into the crowded bus stop on Friday.

The West Bank has been on edge since Israel stepped up its crackdown on the area last spring after a series of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Last year, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

The pace of death has accelerated this year. According to a count by The Associated Press, 45 Palestinians have been killed so far. Palestinians have killed 10 people on the Israeli side during this period.


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