Israel troops targeted by gunfire in West Bank as Palestinian shot dead

By: AFP      Published: 10:04 PM, 18 May, 2021
Israel troops targeted by gunfire in West Bank as Palestinian shot dead

Israeli troops were targeted by gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the army said, as the Palestinian health ministry said a man was killed in a separate shooting.

The violence came as Palestinians across the West Bank and in east Jerusalem observed a general strike in support of those under bombardment in the Gaza Strip, with clashes reported throughout the territories.

The Israeli army said that "during a violent riot" near Ramallah, "a number of rioters fired extensively" Israeli soldiers who "responded with fire".

"Two soldiers were injured in their legs, and were evacuated to a hospital for further medical treatment," it said in a statement.

Shortly afterwards, the Palestinian health ministry announced the death of a 25-year-old Mohammad Hamid, who was shot in the chest at the entrance to Al-Bireh, northeast of Ramallah.

The ministry said there were 70 people hospitalised due to clashes with Israeli forces, five of them in serious condition.

Israel launched an aerial bombing campaign of Gaza on May 10 after the enclave's rulers, the Islamist group Hamas, fired rockets into Israel in response to unrest in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement has called for a "day of anger" and strike, an appeal echoed in Arab and ethnically mixed towns inside Israel.

All non-essential Palestinian businesses were closed in West Bank cities and east Jerusalem, including at the flashpoint Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City, where at least nine people were arrested for throwing stones and bottles at police.

In the nearby east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, police used stun grenades and "skunk water" cannon to disperse some 200 protesters who, according to a police statement, "expressed support for terror activists".

One of the protesters, Ameer Maragha, 25, told AFP he supported the rocket-fire shot by Hamas at Israeli cities, since "the Palestinian people have the right to fight the occupation."

Earlier Tuesday, Israel's army said it had "neutralised" an assailant attempting to attack soldiers in Hebron, with the Palestinian health ministry later confirming the man's death.