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Palestinian reportedly shot dead by settlers in fresh bout of West Bank violence

A 19-year-old Palestinian was killed Friday during clashes with settlers in the West Bank, with Palestinian reports saying he was shot dead by the Israelis.

The victim was identified by the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry as Qusay Jamal Mi’tan.

An unnamed security source was widely quoted by Hebrew media outlets saying soldiers were not present in Burqa, the Palestinian town where the fighting took place, at the time of the incident and that it appeared the Palestinian was shot by the Israelis, who came from the nearby illegal outpost of Oz Zion.

In an initial response, the Israel Defense Forces said it received reports of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, during which a Palestinian was killed, seemingly by a gun fired by an Israeli. The military also said there were reports of Israelis who were injured by Palestinian rock-throwing.

“The IDF, Israel Police and additional security forces arrived at the scene and are now investigating,” a military statement said.

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According to the PA’s official Wafa news agency, the clashes broke out after settlers attacked the village, leading residents to confront them.

Two other Palestinians were reportedly hurt by rocks thrown by settlers, who Wafa said burned a pair of cars in Burqa.

الشاب قصي جمال معطان (19 عاماً) الذي ارتقى برصاص المستوطنين في قرية برقا شرق رام الله.

— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) August 4, 2023

There have been several other recent cases of settler violence in Burqa, which is adjacent to the flashpoint Homesh outpost.

Fighting broke out earlier this week after the High Court of Justice threw out a petition to clear the wildcat settlement, finding its relocation from private Palestinian land fulfilled the demands of Palestinian landowners in the area to regain access to their territory.

مستوطنون يحرقون سيارتين خلال هجومهم على بلدة برقا شرق رام الله.

— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) August 4, 2023

Friday’s incident came after several other Palestinians were killed in disputed circumstances involving settlers. In June, a Palestinian was shot dead during a settler rampage in Turmus Ayya that followed a deadly attack and in February a Palestinian was killed while settlers rioted in Huwara after a terror shooting.

Also in February, the Shin Bet joined police in investigating the killing of a Palestinian man in the West Bank, allegedly by Israeli settlers.

There has been a rise in settler violence in recent months, with the UN on Friday reporting there have been nearly 600 attacks on Palestinians and their property over the past six months.

The riots have been condemned by politicians, including some from the hardline right-wing coalition, but there has been little clear-cut condemnation from settlement leaders.

The government has pledged to hold those behind the settler rampages accountable. Two suspects have since been charged in the rioting. Five Israelis have been held under administrative detention for their involvement. Hundreds were filmed taking part in the attacks.