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Israel army opens fire on PA security HQ in West Bank

Bullet holes are seen on a window of the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security, in Nablus, the West Bank, 11 June 2019 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]
Bullet holes are seen on a window of the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security, in Nablus, the West Bank, 11 June 2019 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces attacked a Palestinian security headquarters in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, the Turkey-based Anadolu Agency has reported.

According to the Governor of Nablus Ibrahim Ramadan, a group of Israeli soldiers surrounded the building and blockaded it while opening fire from three sides before they withdrew from the area. In the overnight attack, one Palestinian security guard was wounded in the hand.

“This is not the first time and will not be the last that the occupation army harms our people, but the dangerous part in this incident is that a Palestinian military headquarters was targeted,” Ramadan told the official Palestinian Authority’s (PA) news site Wafa.

The Israeli military, on the other hand, claimed that the overnight attack was a case of apparent mistaken identity, and Israeli media has reported on the incident as being a “firefight” despite Palestinian sources saying there was no retaliatory fire exchanged.

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Earlier in the night, Israeli forces conducted a series of raids and arrests on Palestinian targets suspected of alleged participation in protests and resistance activity, resulting in the arrest of 18 Palestinians who were taken in for questioning.

Attacks, assaults and acts of vandalism are frequently carried out on Palestinian towns and villages in the Israeli-occupied West Bank both by illegal settlers and soldiers.

Last month, an illegal settler was caught on video carrying out an arson attack against Palestinian fields, contradicting a statement by the Israeli army which blamed Palestinians for starting the fire.

Shortly after the incident, the Israeli army issued a statement saying it had extinguished “a fire set by Palestinians” near the villages of Burin, Urif and Asira Al-Qibliya, all located some five miles north of Kufr Yasuf. However, a video released by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem the following week revealed that, in fact, the fire had been started by illegal Israeli settlers.

READ: Israeli forces attack Palestinian security office in Nablus

Though the army subsequently altered its statement to say that “several fires were set and quickly spread”, it did not admit to having covered up the settlers’ culpability for the attack. For its part, B’Tselem stressed that the Israeli army had granted “almost total immunity” to the settlers, noting that none were interrogated or arrested following the incident.

Just days later, it emerged that one of the settlers seen in the video was a serving soldier in the Israeli army. Israeli media reported that “the army knows the identity of the settler”, while “two security sources confirmed the details, saying that the soldier was on leave when the arson took place”.

The soldier – who has not been named but is known to live on the Har Bracha settlement near Burin – was eventually arrested earlier this week and suspended from the army pending further investigation.

It is estimated that 640,000 Jewish settlers inhabit the 196 settlements built with the Israeli government’s approval and over 200 other outposts built without government’s approval in the West Bank. The ongoing construction of settlements on Palestinian territory is a violation of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory.

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