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Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli soldiers in West Bank

The clashes come after settlers published call for Israelis to seize Mount Al-Urma
A Palestinian protester wearing a protective mask stands during clashes with Israeli forces in a village south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank (AFP)

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead and 112 people were wounded by Israeli soldiers during clashes over an ancient site that settlers have tried to seize from Palestinian villagers, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Mohammed Hamayel, a 15-year-old from Beita village, south of Nablus city, succumbed to his wounds, and “died as a result of being shot in the face with live ammunition by the [Israeli] occupation," a health ministry statement said.

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The Israeli army said it was investigating the incident.

Israeli soldiers, seen wearing masks, fired tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets to break up Palestinian protesters.

The clashes broke out on Wednesday morning around Mount Al-Urma in Beita village. The mountain is one of the most important archaeological areas in Nablus and is the highest peak in Beita. 

Around 112 Palestinians were wounded, 90 of them from tear gas inhalation, and 18 from rubber-coated bullets, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported.

Last month, Israeli settlers published calls on social media to ascend Mount Al-Urma, seize it and turn it into an Israeli religious tourist site.

In late February, the settlers made their first attempt to seize Mount Al-Urma but were repelled by hundreds of locals. The confrontation left 93 people injured by Israeli live fire and rubber bullets.

On Monday 2 March, settlers tried for a second time to reach the top of the mountain, but the residents of Beita quickly gathered to defend it.

Clashes erupted, during which the Israeli army opened fire, wounding two Palestinians with live ammunition and 10 others with rubber bullets.

Adham Zuhair, a 19-year-old Beita resident, earlier told MEE: “We contacted the villagers, the mosques’ speakers began asking people to head to Mount Al-Urma... in less than 10 minutes hundreds of people had arrived here."

According to historians, Mount Al-Urma has been inhabited since the early Bronze Age, about 3,200 years ago.
 
On top of the mountain, walls that still exist indicate that an ancient castle was built there, under which seven water tanks were dug into the rock.