Deadly violence after Israeli boy vanishes in West Bank

Deadly violence after Israeli boy vanishes in West Bank


  • By Laurence Peter
  • BBC News

Image source, Anadolu/Getty Images

Image caption, Cars were set ablaze when settlers stormed al-Mughayyir

Violence has erupted during an Israeli search for a missing teenage boy in the occupied West Bank, with a Palestinian man killed and 25 reported hurt in clashes with Jewish settlers.

Israeli troops intervened after dozens of settlers stormed al-Mughayyir, a village near Ramallah, armed with guns and stones. The unrest later subsided.

Missing Benjamin Ahimeir, 14, has not been found. A huge search is under way.

Separately Israeli forces shot and killed two West Bank Palestinians.

One was confirmed by Hamas to be a local commander of the group. The Israeli military say Mohammed Daraghmeh was killed in a shoot-out with their troops.

Violence has escalated in the West Bank since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza started on 7 October, ignited by the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel which killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Israel is on high alert after US officials said an Iranian strike against Israel might be imminent. Iran has vowed to retaliate for last week’s deadly air strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria, in which several senior Iranian military figures died.

Israel has not commented but is widely considered to have carried out that attack targeting Iran’s elite Quds Force.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said at least eight of those injured in the al-Mughayyir violence were hit by live fire.

It is not yet clear whether the man who died, 26-year-old Jehad Abu Alia, was shot by an armed settler or Israeli soldier.

The army says its forces managed to disperse the settlers who had entered the village. Troops have set up roadblocks in the area as the security forces continue searching for the Israeli boy, who had left a settler outpost, Malachi Hashalom, early on Friday.

His sister Hannah, quoted by AFP news agency, said he was familiar with the area, where he had often herded sheep.

The Palestinian health ministry says at least 460 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since 7 October.

Israeli sources say at least 13 Israelis have been killed there by Palestinians in the same period.

The surge in West Bank violence has prompted the US, UK and France to impose sanctions on some settlers for the first time.

But the casualties there are dwarfed by the Gaza war: more than 33,600 Gazans, the majority of them civilians, have been killed during Israel’s campaign, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

On 7 October gunmen also took more than 250 people hostage. Israel says that of 130 hostages still in Gaza, at least 34 are dead.


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