Jerusalem24 – Israeli forces shot and killed 58-year-old Salah Tawfiq Sawafta in Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank during a raid on the town at dawn on Friday.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said Sawafta was shot in the head with live ammunition and that he arrived at the hospital in critical condition. He died of his wounds in hospital later on Friday.
Hussam Daraghmeh, mayor of Tubas, told AFP that an Israeli soldier fired at Sawafta as he left Fajr prayers at the mosque.
“He left the mosque and was heading to his house wearing a prayer robe. There was a vengeful soldier stationed in a building near the municipality who shot him in the head,” Daraghmeh told AFP.
Daraghmeh added that Sawafta was unarmed when he was hit.
This account contradicts Israeli claims that soldiers did not fire at Sawafta.
The Israeli army said in a statement that soldiers had come under fire during a raid in the town aimed at apprehending “a group of terrorists” planning attacks on Israeli civilians.
During the operation “armed Palestinians opened massive indiscriminatory fire,” and soldiers responded with “precise fire” that hit “a number of assailants”, Israel said in a statement cited by AFP.
In recent months, the villages around Nablus and Jenin, in the northern West Bank, have seen increased Israeli raids to arrest political activists and, in some incidents, assassinate leaders from Palestinian factions.
On Thursday, Waseem Nasser Khalifa from Balata refugee camp was killed early morning in confrontations with Israeli forces in Joseph’s tomb area in Nablus.
Khalifa was shot in the chest, according to the Red Crescent which also reported on at least 30 Palestinians wounded, three of them severely.
Israeli security forces have killed more than 80 Palestinians so far this year during raids in the occupied West Bank.