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Woman killed during clashes between Palestinian forces, gunmen in Nablus

Nov. 16, 2016 9:48 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2016 8:18 P.M.)
(File)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian woman was killed and three Palestinian security officers were injured during armed clashes with suspected Palestinian gunmen in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus early Wednesday.

Nablus district Governor Akram al-Rujoub told Ma’an that armed men attacked members of Palestinian security forces in the Old City of Nablus during an Israeli army raid in the city.

Al-Rujoub added that armed men also opened fire at the headquarters of the Nablus governorate.

The governor said that a woman, identified as 39-year-old Hilda Bassam al-Asta, was struck by a bullet to the chest and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Rafidiya governmental hospital.

Meanwhile, three Palestinian officers were injured in the gunfight.

Al-Rujoub said that the armed men had been identified by security forces, which were searching the area to apprehend them.

The Nablus district has been the site of violent clashes involving Palestinian security forces since a massive security crackdown was launched across the West Bank, which turned deadly in August when two policemen were killed during a raid in the Old City of Nablus to uncover weapons and make arrests.

The ensuing manhunt for the gunmen responsible left three suspects killed by Palestinian security forces, sparking international outrage over what the UN deemed “extrajudicial executions” -- particularly that of Ahmad Izz Halaweh, the alleged mastermind behind the police shooting, who was beaten to death in custody.

In September, Palestinian forces also shot dead an alleged Palestinian gunman in Nablus. While Palestinian forces had claimed the men opened fire on them, forcing them to respond, others have claimed the four were unarmed at the time of the incident and were surveilling the Palestinian police while they carried out a detention raid.

Amid the ongoing security crackdown, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has faced widespread criticism over the unclear circumstances in which Palestinian fugitives have been arrested and killed, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer saying that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

The crackdown also comes as Palestinian political factions have repeatedly accused the Fatah-dominated PA of “escalating security collaboration” with Israeli authorities and “adopting a revolving door policy" funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.
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