West Bank: Israel army seriously wounds journalist in Ramallah raid
A large number of military vehicles and soldiers stormed Ramallah’s old town to demolish the house of a Palestinian accused of orchestrating a deadly bombing in Jerusalem last year.
Residents threw stones and other projectiles at the heavily armed soldiers.
The Israeli army fired live bullets and tear gas at residents, wounding at least 35 people, including 20 who sustained gunshot wounds, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Two journalists, Rabee Munir, and Momen Samreen, were deliberately hit with rubber-coated steel bullets, eyewitnesses said.
According to medics, Samreen was hit in the head and seriously wounded. He suffered a concussion, skull fracture, and internal bleeding but is now in stable condition.
The Israeli military said in a statement it was reviewing reports of injuries sustained by Palestinians and that it has "been determined" journalists were present at the scene.
The Palestinian Ministry of Information said the “direct targeting” of journalists is part of an “open aggression” by Israel against Palestinian reporters.
According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, the ministry said attacks on media crews “requires accountability of the occupation army, which finds it easy to pull the trigger against journalists, and intentionally assaults them”.
The raid was part of an operation to demolish the family home of Islam Faroukh.
The 26-year-old mechanical engineer was arrested in December by Israeli forces on suspicion of carrying out twin bombings in Jerusalem that killed two Israelis and wounded 20 in November.
Israeli authorities announced they would demolish his home in Ramallah to deter others from copying his actions.
Israel routinely demolishes the family homes of Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israelis. This practice is condemned by rights groups as a form of unlawful collective punishment.
The Wednesday incursion took place in the heart of Ramallah, which is part of “Area A” of the West Bank according to the Oslo Accords, meaning that it should be under the sole governance of the Palestinian Authority.
Mohammad Shtayyeh, the PA’s prime minister, said Israel is “disregarding Palestinian sovereignty” and “reoccupying” the West Bank, according to Wafa.
“What the occupation authorities did was a heinous crime,” Shtayyeh said during a visit to the demolished Faroukh home on Thursday morning.
“An entire family was turned into a homeless family overnight,” he added, vowing to rebuild every home destroyed by Israel.