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Palestinian in critical condition after Israeli forces, settlers raid Qusra village

Dec. 4, 2017 4:07 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2017 7:43 P.M.)
Ahmad Fayiz Hasan
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was critically injured after Israeli forces shot a live bullet into his back during clashes that erupted in the Qusra village southeastern Nablus on Monday.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern occupied West Bank told Ma'an that Ahmad Fayiz Hasan, 24, was critically injured during clashes in the eastern area of the village.

Hasan was transferred to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital in Nablus city by crews from the Palestinian Red Crescent and was immediately sent into surgery.

Palestinian Medical sources said that the bullet entered through Hasan’s back and settled into the left side of his chest.

Daghlas said that locals had gathered in the eastern area of Qusra after Israeli settlers had raided the area under Israeli army escort, stationing themselves in the area where an Israeli settler shot dead Mahmoud Odeh, a 48-year-old resident of Qusra, on Thursday.

Witnesses told Ma'an that locals tried to push out the dozens of Israeli settlers who raided the village in an attempt to provoke people, causing clashes to break out.

Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas and live ammunition against locals.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “hundreds of Palestinians in Qusra began rolling burning tires and throwing rocks at Israeli forces.”

“Security forces responded by using crowd control means,” the spokesperson said, adding that the army had declared the area a “closed military zone” and that they were aware of Hasan’s injury, and that it was being “investigated.”

When questioned on the reports that the clashes broke out only after dozens of settlers raided the area under the protection of Israeli forces, the spokesperson said she was “aware of Israeli civilians in the area,” but did not comment further.

An upwards of some 600,000 Israeli settlers reside in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. The international community has repeatedly called their presence and rising population the main impediment to potential peace in the region.

The UN reported in August that after a three-year decline of settler attacks on Palestinians, the first half of 2017 showed a major increase in such attacks, with 89 incidents being documented so far this year, representing an 88 percent increase compared to 2016. The attacks during this time period have led to the deaths of three Palestinians.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.

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