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West Bank: Scores of Palestinians injured in settler attacks after fatal shooting

The injured include a married couple in Qaryut village who were beaten and sprayed with pepper gas by settlers in their home
A Palestinian resident of the West Bank village of Burqa in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers after attacks by settlers, on 17 December 2021 (AFP)
By Atef Daglas in Nablus, occupied Palestine

Scores of Palestinians have been injured by settlers in villages around the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank following a shooting near an illegal outpost in Homesh that left one settler dead and two wounded.

Palestinians in Qaryut village, south of Nablus, were attacked overnight on Thursday by settlers from Esh Kodesh, an illegal settlement founded in 2000 on parts of Palestinian land in Qaryut.

Residents told Middle East Eye that the settlers had stormed the house of a 62-year-old Palestinian man in the early hours of Friday, beat him, sprayed him with pepper gas and damaged his home's furniture. The man was taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, with severe bruising on his body.

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Another Palestinian couple was evacuated overnight to hospital after they were attacked at the entrance to their home in the same village.

Wael Mohammed Makbal, 55, and his wife Samiha, 46, said settlers had knocked on their door claiming to be soldiers and then attacked them and vandalised their home. The couple were also taken to Rafidia hospital.

Makbal told MEE that almost 15 settlers had stormed their house around 3am on Friday morning.

"My wife told me that someone was knocking on the door, so I went to open it," said Makbal.

"They introduced themselves as the Israeli army. They pushed the door forcefully, and when it was open they started beating me from all sides."

Makbal said some of the settlers, who were carrying clubs and metal sticks, were masked, and some were wearing Israeli army attire.

He said he was left unconscious from the attack, with injuries including severe bruising to his eyes and face, broken limbs and a broken lower jaw. 

Makbal said that his tractor was also vandalised by the settlers, while footage on social media showing extensive damage to his house.

Military reinforcements

The Israeli killed on Thursday has been identified as Yehuda Dimentman, who lived in the nearby Shavei Shomron settlement. Dimentman, 25, studied at the yeshiva, or seminary, in Homesh.

The illegal Homesh settler outpost was established without government permission, and its residents were evacuated in 2005. However, settlers visit the area and operate the Homesh yeshiva, which serves as a de facto outpost.

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Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settler activities in the West Bank, told MEE that from Thursday evening to Friday morning, almost 25 Palestinian houses were attacked by settlers following the shooting, while Israeli forces stood by unwilling to intervene.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said its medics had treated almost 72 people who were injured in the Nablus villages of Burqa, Beita and Beit Dajan.

In Burqa, settlers burned agricultural property and attempted to set fire to a Palestinian house. There were also reports of settlers shooting towards residents there.

Israeli forces installed several makeshift checkpoints around the cities of Jenin and Nablus in a bid to capture Dimentman's killers. Haaretz reported that some suspects had been arrested over the attack.

The Israeli newspaper also quoted Brigadier General Avi Blut as saying that the Israeli military planned to boost forces in the West Bank with three infantry battalions and special forces units following the attack.

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