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West Bank: Calls for confrontation with Israel after killing of Fatah fighters

Protests erupted on Tuesday evening amid settler attacks and calls for a day of anger in Palestinian cities
Mourners at the funeral of three Palestinian resistance fighters shot dead by Israeli forces in Nablus, on 9 February 2022 (Reuters)

The killing of three Palestinian resistance fighters in broad daylight by the Israeli army in Nablus on Tuesday has triggered widespread anger, with calls to escalate protests and confrontations with Israel. 

Thousands of people gathered outside Rafidia hospital on Tuesday evening to join the funeral procession of the three men, identified as Adham Mabrouka, Ashraf Mubaslat and Mohammed al-Dakhil. All three were resistance fighters with Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

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After the funeral, protests erupted across several cities and towns in the occupied West Bank. In Jenin and Nablus, north of the West Bank, armed Palestinian fighters carried out shootings at Israeli troops near military checkpoints, according to local media. No casualties were reported.  

Elsewhere in Nablus, demonstrators confronted Israeli soldiers in the villages of Burqa, Beita, Huwara and Bizzariya. 

The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported 53 injuries sustained in the army crackdown. One protester suffered from a live bullet wound. 

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers marching across the West Bank injured Palestinians and damaged properties in several small-scale attacks. 

Two elderly Palestinians were injured in separate assaults near Bethlehem and Hebron.  

Fear of reprisals

A "day of anger" and general strikes are being observed in Ramallah, Nablus and Tulkarem on Wednesday, as several Palestinian factions called for mass protests in the West Bank. 

The killing of the three fighters on Tuesday was widely condemned by Palestinians as a "field execution" and an "assassination". 

The rare, targeted military operation took place in the heart of Nablus in broad daylight. Israeli soldiers used two private vehicles with Palestinian plates to enter al-Makhfiya neighbourhood in the early afternoon, to reach their target. 

They then got out and surrounded the vehicle carrying the Palestinian men, and fired at it intensely from point-blank range, an eyewitness told Middle East Eye. 

Israeli security forces said it ambushed the fighters, adding that they were part of an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades cell that they had been tracking. 

Ibrahim Nabulsi, a fourth fighter who is part of the cell, was initially thought to have been killed, but later revealed that he was not in the car. 

The Israeli army has increased its deployment across the West Bank in fear of reprisal attacks as it continues to track down Nabulsi.

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