October 06, 2023 10:12 pm | Updated 10:12 pm IST – Ramallah, Palestinian Territories
Smoke billows as Israeli forces clash with Palestinians following the funeral of 19-year-old Labib Damidi, who was shot in an overnight attack in the village of Huwara, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank village on October 06, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP
A Palestinian was killed early Friday during clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers in a town that has been the scene of frequent violence in the occupied West Bank, multiple sources said.
“Labib Mohammad Labib Dmidi, 19, was shot in the heart by settlers in the town of Huwara,” the Palestinian health ministry said in a brief statement.
The Israeli army said in a statement that a suspect had been shot by soldiers, and a military spokesperson said later he was unable to confirm whether the Palestinian had been killed or wounded.
Huwara is a town in the northern West Bank that has this year witnessed several fatal shootings by Palestinians against Israelis in cars and reprisal attacks by Jewish settlers against locals and their property.
Mayor Moin Dmidi told AFP that the young Palestinian man had sought refuge on the roof of his house, which was being attacked by settlers, when one of them shot him dead.
Another resident of the town, Abderrahman Dmidi, said the attack took place as dozens of settlers descended on Huwara overnight.
“More than 200 settlers gathered in the middle of Huwara after midnight, shouting and dancing, some of them with covered faces,” he told AFP.
“They began throwing stones towards some houses, and then the young people… tried to defend their homes by throwing stones,” he added.
The confrontation came after the Israeli army said soldiers shot dead a Palestinian who had opened fire on a car stuck in traffic at a junction adjacent to Huwara late Thursday, without hitting any of the Israeli civilians inside.
After midnight, the army said, dozens of Israeli civilians gathered in an area of Huwara and engaged in stone-throwing clashes with Palestinians, before soldiers intervened with “riot dispersal means to defuse the confrontation”.
It said a suspect “threw a block at an Israeli vehicle”, prompting soldiers to respond with live fire. It added that “a hit was identified”.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said it treated 58 people at the scene of the clashes who had suffered from tear gas inhalation.
The military said it had received reports “regarding vandalism of the properties of Palestinian residents of the town by Israeli civilians”.
The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the events in Huwara, referring to them as a “heinous crime committed by a hateful and racist settler,” demonstrating the “perpetuation of crimes and attacks by organized settler militias against our people.”
In February, dozens of Israeli settlers set fire to numerous buildings in Huwara after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis in the town.
A surge in violence has hit the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
There has been a rise in army raids, Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis and Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property.
So far this year at least 247 Palestinians, 32 Israelis and two foreigners have been killed in the conflict, including combatants and civilians on both sides, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.