CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated “it appears likely that Sidqi Zakarneh and Tareq Al-Damaj engaged in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers deployed in a building nearby”. CCTV footage has come to light which appears to contradict that claim. Jerusalem24 is working to establish the exact circumstances surrounding their killing.
Jerusalem24 – Nadeen Alshaer and Noelle Mafarjeh – Four Palestinians have been shot and killed by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank since yesterday afternoon.
Three men were shot and killed by the Israeli military during a large-scale invasion of the city of Jenin early this morning.
The Israeli army deployed snipers, military bulldozers, and undercover units, and fired “Energa” anti-tank missiles at a home housing a woman and children who were evacuated with difficulty by their neighbors, according to eyewitness testimony by resident Ashraf Abu Al-Rakez.
Armed confrontations broke out with armed Palestinian fighters during the invasion.
Video footage distributed on social media shows a Red Crescent ambulance that was transporting the injured in Jenin with a bullet hole through the windshield and front passenger seat. First responders are frequently targeted by the Israeli military and denied access to the injured, often with fatal consequences.
A full strike has been declared in Jenin in mourning for the three men shot and killed. All commercial outlets are closed, as well as educational institutions. The Palestinian Bar Association also announced the suspension of all court proceedings except emergencies for the day.
“Pierced with bullets”
29-year-old Sidqi Zakarneh and 29-year-old Tareq Al-Damaj were both shot and killed outside the vehicles they were travelling in. CCTV footage that came to light on Thursday night shows they were unarmed when shot. They were both shot multiple times and “their faces were pierced with bullets”, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Jerusalem24.
Atta Al-Shalabi, a 43-year-old a father-of-four from Qabatiya south of Jenin, was not a fighter, and was on his way to work inside Israel via the Al-Jalameh checkpoint when he found himself near the scene of the shoot-out.
Ghassan Al-Saadi, a local activist and eyewitness to the scene, told Jerusalem24 he followed an ambulance to the scene after hearing heavy shooting, and saw Zakarneh and Al-Damaj lying on the ground next to a car with two open doors.
Paramedics brought a stretcher and began to move Al-Damaj towards the ambulance when they heard heavy shooting in close proximity.
“Atta Al-Shalabi was around 15m to 20m away from us, and 6m away from the ambulance. He was targeted and killed while we were trying to evacuate Al-Damaj,” said Al-Saadi.
According to testimony by Al-Shalabi’s cousin to Quds News Network, Al-Shalabi was shot by an Israeli sniper from a balcony overhead, before being hit by a further six bullets.
Fawaz Hamad, Director General of Al-Razi Hospital in Jenin where Al-Shalabi was brought, told Jerusalem24 that Al-Shalabi was hit in the head “from a close distance” with an explosive bullet, the type of ammunition fired by Israeli snipers. A further three bullets hit him in the chest, and three in the abdomen.
Al-Shalabi’s cousin told Quds News the soldiers “targeted him to kill him”.
“Not going back to prison”
A fourth Palestinian was shot and killed yesterday afternoon after he fired shots towards Israeli soldiers stationed at the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra near Ramallah.
The soldiers gave chase to 32-year-old Mujahed Mahmoud Hamed Al-Najjar, from the town of Silwad north of Ramallah. Hamed was killed in an ensuing exchange of fire on lands near the village of Deir Dibwan.
According Israeli media reporting Israeli military statements, Al-Najjar had conducted several shooting attacks on military targets in the area in recent weeks. His mother told Quds News her son “did not want to go back to prison”, and his cousin said he had been “followed” for the past several days.
The town of Silwad has been subjected to intense and frequent night-time raids and arrest campaigns by the Israeli military in recent months, with dozens of residents arrested. In August and September, residents were submitted to collective punishment in the form of a weeks-long siege when the military closed the main entrances to the town and access to surrounding agricultural lands, after several shootings targeting Israeli soldiers took place near the town.
Rising death toll
In the wake of Thursday’s killings, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh renewed calls on the international community “to provide protection to our people from daily killings and bloodshed.”
The Israeli military has now shot and killed a total of 151 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem in 2022, including 35 children. At least 91 of these were not involved in direct, armed confrontations with or attacks against the Israeli army or civilians when they were shot and killed, according to documentation collected by Jerusalem24.