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Settlers attack Palestinians after two Israeli soldiers wounded in shooting in Huwara

Jerusalem24 – Two Israeli soldiers were injured in a shooting attack in the town of Huwara south of Nablus on Saturday evening.

The Israeli army said in a statement that a speeding vehicle shot at a group of soldiers stationed in Huwara, seriously injuring one soldier and moderately wounding another.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement and said that “three Israeli occupation soldiers were shot near Huwara military checkpoint”.

Retaliatory settler attacks

The Israeli army deployed a heavy military presence in Huwara and declared it a closed military zone following the shooting, closed all checkpoints surrounding the city of Nablus, stormed the town of Beita south of Nablus, and conducted search operations.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Israeli settlers physically assaulted a Palestinian man in a restaurant near Deir Sharaf west of Nablus. According to the Red Crescent director in Nablus, Ahmad Jibril, the man was hospitalized and the restaurant evacuated after the attack.

Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian vehicles near Deir Sharaf, causing material damage but no injuries. Settlers also gathered at the Salman Al-Farisi and Einabus roundabouts near Nablus under the protection of the Israeli army.

Collective punishment

Israeli officials immediately called for imposing punishment on the town of Huwara.

The head of the Council of Settlements of the Northern West Bank, Yossi Dagan, opened a makeshift office in a tent at Einabus Square near Hawara.

“If there is no security for my residents, I will sit here,” Dagan said. “The fabric of the enemy’s life will not come before the lives of civilians.”

The chairman of the illegal settlement of Yitzhar near Nablus, Golan Abgi, who was present to support Dagan, demanded a large-scale military operation be carried out “to collect weapons”.

Far-right extremist and Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir called for the convening of the mini-ministerial council for political and security affairs (Cabinet) immediately after the return of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to take action” following the shooting.

“It is time to take action in Huwara, erect permanent barriers, and close shops that pose a security risk,” said Ben-Gvir.

Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon, who previously served as Israel’s representative to the United Nations, tweeted after the shooting that until Israel opens a long-proposed but long-delayed access road that would circumvent the town, “We must close the shops on the main road of the village and hermetically seal the path,” he said.

This is the third shooting attack in less than a month in Huwara.

On 19 March, in conjunction with the Sharm El Sheikh summit, a Palestinian man shot at a settler vehicle in Huwara, injuring a settler couple. The perpetrator was arrested in the town after being shot by one of the settlers.

On 26 February, in conjunction with the Aqaba Security Summit, a Palestinian shot at a settler vehicle, killing two. The perpetrator was later killed in an Israeli army raid on Jenin, during which the army killed another six Palestinians including a child.

On the night of the 26 February attack, a six-hour-long Israeli settler terror attack targeted Huwara and nearby villages, killing one Palestinian, injuring hundreds, and burning to the ground dozens of houses, businesses, and vehicles.

More settler attacks

Concurrently to the settler attacks on Deir Sharaf on Saturday evening, Israeli settlers blocked the Al-Maleh junction near Ein Al-Hilweh in the northern Jordan Valley and attacked Palestinian vehicles with stones, according to Tubas Governorate official Moataz Bisharat.

On Sunday morning at dawn, Israeli settlers also set fire to a house in Sinjil north of Ramallah while a family of six was inside. The owner of the house, 35-year-old  Ahmed Maher Awashra, said that his family “miraculously escaped”, before residents of the village and Civil Defense crews came to extinguish the fire.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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