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Palestinian killed by Israeli settler in West Bank clash

Hundreds of Palestinians had gathered at an Israeli military checkpoint south of Nablus when the protester was killed
Palestinian protesters surround a car reportedly driven by an Israeli settler in the northern occupied West Bank on 18 May 2017 (AFP)

A Palestinian was killed by an Israeli settler during a clash near the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry and security sources said.

The clash near a military post erupted when an Israeli settler in a car attempted to cross a crowd of Palestinian protesters, with the settler and Israeli soldiers opening fire, Palestinian security sources said.

The Palestinian killed was identified by the health ministry as Muataz Bani Shemsay, 23, from a village near Nablus. He was shot in the head, it said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said a "violent riot broke out" that saw Palestinians threw rocks at passing cars.

Ahmad Jibreel, the head of the ambulance and emergency department of the Palestinian Red Crescent, told Ma'an news agency that an Israeli settler stepped out of his vehicle and opened fire at Palestinians “in a random manner,” hitting two Palestinians, including Shamsa.

He also said that the attacker, who also hit a Red Crescent ambulance with his vehicle, had opened fire on the crowd at the same time that clashes were ongoing with Israeli forces, who had deployed tear gas canisters against the demonstraters. 

A photographer with Associated Press news agency was also wounded by gunfire but was in a stable condition, medics said.

Soldiers "responded with riot-dispersal means. One of the Israeli citizens, whose car was damaged from the rocks, fired into the air."

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The Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed one person was killed and another wounded.

"One of the Israeli civilians whose car was damaged from Palestinian rock-throwing fired into the air," the spokesperson said. She added that the army had not been involved in the shooting of Shamsa, and that "it may possibly be from the Israeli, but the incident is under review."

Hundreds of Palestinians had gathered at an Israeli military checkpoint at Huwara, south of Nablus and the regular site of clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian stone-throwers.

Protest in support of hunger strikers

The protest was held in support of hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails on hunger strike since 17 April.

An Israeli settler attempted to drive into the crowd, the security sources said, and was surrounded by protesters who threw stones at the car.

He then got out of the car and opened fire along with soldiers who deployed, the sources said.

A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has claimed the lives of 264 Palestinians, 41 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, the Israeli authorities say.

Others were shot dead during protests or clashes, while some were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The violence has subsided in recent months.

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