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Israeli fire kills Palestinian in West Bank unrest

The 20-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire following confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli settlers
The village of Qusra in the West Bank has seen protests against illegal settlements for years

A 20-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, Palestinian authorities said, following clashes between residents of a Palestinian village and Israeli settlers.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health said Mohammad Fareed Hasan was killed by Israeli gunfire in the village of Qusrah near the city of Nablus, while two others were wounded.

"Hasan was standing on the rooftop of his home when he was shot dead," said a report on the official Wafa news agency. 

According to Wafa, Palestinians in Qusra, were "fending off an attack by hardcore Israeli settlers on the village". 

An Israeli army statement did not confirm the fatality, but said troops had fired at a suspect who threw "a suspicious object that exploded on the soldiers", amid the unrest. 

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Israel's army said: "a violent confrontation between tens of Palestinians and Israeli settlers developed adjacent to the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, during which both sides hurled rocks at each other. 

"Troops who were present at the scene operated to distance both sides from the area using riot dispersal means."

IIsraeli settlements in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, have proliferated in recent years, despite being illegal under international law. 

Israeli settler and military violence against Palestinians living near settlements is common. 

The Nablus area has seen heightened tension in recent days, as Palestinians have held protests against the construction of an illegal settlement outpost near the Palestinian village of Beita. 

The settlers evacuated the outpost, known as Eviatar, on Friday in accordance with an agreement they reached with Israel's new coalition government - which would turn the outpost into a military base and religious school. 

Meanwhile, in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, the Israeli army claimed it had carried out an air strike on a weapon manufacturing facility and a rocket launcher in response to incendiary balloons sent from the Palestinian enclave into Israel on Saturday, the military said.

Sources in Hamas, the Palestinian movement de facto ruling in Gaza, confirmed that the two sites hit belonged to the group. One man was critically wounded, medics said.

There are roughly 475,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, living separately from some 2.8 million Palestinians, in communities regarded as illegal by most of the international community. 

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