At least three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces between Wednesday and Thursday, as tensions across the West Bank continued to rise in the wake of the release of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the region.
The first Palestinian to be killed during protests against the plan was identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as 17-year-old Mohammed al-Haddad, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Al-Haddad was shot and killed during protests against the peace plan in the Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood, a flashpoint area of the city due to its proximity to a permanent Israeli checkpoint.
The Israli military claimed in a statement that al-Haddad threw a Molotov cocktail at soldiers during the clashes, and the soldiers “responded with fire in order to remove the threat.”
Al-Haddad was the first Palestinian to be killed by Israel since the release of the US peace plan last week. His funeral drew thousands of mourners from across Hebron on Thursday.
Deadly raid in Jenin
Israeli forces stormed the northern West Bank city of Jenin in a massive military operation that sparked violent confrontations between soldiers and local Palestinians.
Soldiers arrived with several bulldozers to destroy the home of Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Qunba, who was convicted of killing an Israeli settler in a drive-by shooting in January 2018.
Wednesday’s demolition marked the second time Israeli forces destroyed the home of the Qunba family, who rebuilt the house after the first punitive demolition in 2018.
Dozens of local Palestinian youth went out to confront the soldiers during the demolition. Israeli media reported that Palestinian snipers opened fire on the soldiers, causing them to open fire on the protesters.
19-year-old Yazan Munther Abu Tabikh, was shot dead, while six others were taken to the hospital for treatment. According to local media, one of the six was critically injured.
In a separate incident, not far from where the confrontations were taking place, Israeli forces shot a Palestinain Authority policeman, identified as first lieutenant Tareq Badwan. Official PA news agency Wafa reported that Badwan succumbed to his wounds on Thursday morning.
While little is known surrounding the details of Badwan’s killing, CCTV footage from the police building in Jenin was circulating on Palestinian social media.
The video allegedly shows Badwan and a group of other police officers standing inside the entrance of their police building, located near the site of the clashes. Out of nowhere, Badwan falls to the ground and is surrounded by his fellow officers.
استشهاد الشرطي طارق بدوان متاثرا بجراحه في جنينفيديو يوضح لحظة الاصابة داخل مقر عمله
Posted by وكالة معا الاخبارية on Thursday, February 6, 2020
Haaretz reported that the military was investigating the shooting of Badwan, and that initial investigations showed that “the policeman was standing near a police station and had not posed a threat to Israeli soldiers operating in the city.”
Manhunt in search of car-ramming attacker
Around the same time as the events unfolded in Jenin, an alleged Palestinian attacker drove a car into a group of Israelis, most of them soldiers, outside a popular strip of bars and nightclubs in Jerusalem.
According to Israeli Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld’s Twitter, 12 Israelis were injured in what he described as a “terrorist” attack. Israeli media reported that 14 people were injured, the majority of them Israeli soldiers.
Security measures continue in & around Jeruslem after vehicle attack by terrorist. 12 injured. Police patrol units searching areas. pic.twitter.com/JXJmmwLipo
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) February 6, 2020
Reports stated that one soldier, an unidentified 20-year-old, was transported to the hospital and was being treated for serious injuries.
Following the attack, which took place around 1:45am, Israeli forces embarked on a manhunt for the alleged attacker, who fled the scene. Hours later, security forces reported locating the suspect’s car, which was abandoned in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, adjacent to Bethlehem city.
Witnesses told Mondoweiss that a large number of soldiers raided Bethlehem and Beit Jala, searching people’s homes and shops.
The raids sparked clashes with local youth in Beit Jala, with Israeli forces firing rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear gas at the Palestinians. Local media reported some injuries, including a Palestinian photographer, who was injured in the stomach with a rubber bullet.
As of Thursday afternoon, Israeli forces were still looking for the suspect. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reported that nine Palestinians had been detained from across the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Confusion over alleged shooting attack in Old City
Early Wednesday afternoon, Israeli police reported that shots were fired at a border police officer near the Lion’s Gate outside the Old City in East Jerusalem.
Border police opened fire on the assailant, killing him. The identity of the perpetrator remained unknown to the media, though it is suspected that he was Palestinian.
Israeli media reported that one border police officer was lightly wounded on his hand and treated at the scene.
Israeli forces have long been criticized for using excessive force against Palestinians in situations where non-lethal means could have been used to subdue or detain alleged attackers.