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Palestinian teen shot by Israeli settler dies from wounds

Ramzi Fathi Hamed, 17, was shot in the stomach and chest while sitting in a car outside an illegal West Bank settlement
Ramzi Fathi Hamed, 17, was shot by an Israeli settler whilst sitting in a car near the Ofra illegal settlement north of the West Bank (Screengrab)
Ramzi Fathi Hamed, 17, was shot by an Israeli settler while sitting in a car near the Ofra illegal settlement north of the West Bank (Screengrab)

A Palestinian youth has died from his wounds days after being reportedly shot by an Israeli settler near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the health ministry said on Monday. 

Ramzi Fathi Hamed, 17, was shot on Friday by the settler while sitting in a car near the Ofra illegal settlement in the town of Silwad north of the West Bank, according to Raed Hamed, the mayor of the town. 

Hamed was hit with two bullets, in the chest and stomach, medics said. 

He died of a severe pulmonary attack on Monday morning while being treated in a Ramallah hospital, they added. 

It comes after Israeli settlers shot and killed 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Jamal Maatan in Burqa, near Ramallah, on Friday. Two others were wounded in the assault. 

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Residents told Middle East Eye that armed settlers arrived at Burqa from a nearby settlement outpost and attacked them from three directions.

"They assaulted the residents and torched two vehicles," said eyewitness Ahmed Barakat. 

During the attack, the Palestinians threw stones to prevent the settlers from advancing further, who in turn fired at them. 

The United States condemned it as a "terror attack" carried out by "Israeli extremist settlers" and urged "full accountability and justice". 

Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel's far-right national security minister, praised the settlers suspected of the killing. 

"A Jew who defends himself and others from murder by Palestinians is not a murder suspect, but a hero who will get full backing from me," he said. 

One of the two suspects is a former MP's spokesperson for Ben Gvir's Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party. The pair were arrested by Israeli forces on Saturday and held for further investigations. 

Nearly 700,000 settlers live in more than 250 settlements and outposts across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Their presence constitutes a violation of international law, according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

While Israeli settler violence against Palestinians is common in the West Bank, the recent deaths come as the number of attacks has grown in recent years at an alarming rate, according to UN human rights experts. 

UN figures show settler attacks have been on a year-to-year upward trend since 2016, with 228 attacks recorded in 2022 leading to casualties. 

Since the start of the year, at least nine Palestinians have been killed during settler attacks, compared with five Palestinians killed by suspected settlers in 2022. 

Although the Israeli army said they are investigating the Friday shooting, Israeli authorities have been previously accused of enabling settler violence and failing to prosecute Israeli offenders or protect Palestinians. 

Only three percent of investigations into settler violence led to a conviction between 1995-2022, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din. 

According to a Middle East Eye tally, at least 208 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 36 children - a rate of nearly one fatality per day.

A total of 172 people have died in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making 2023 one of the bloodiest years in the occupied Palestinian territories. Another 36 people were killed in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have killed 26 Israelis in the same period, including six children.

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