Israeli forces kill Palestinian officer in clashes, WAFA says

  • Israeli forces killed Ashraf Sheikh Ibrahim in the West Bank.
  • Jewish settlers also inaugurated a seminary in a West Bank area.
  • Israeli-Palestinian violence has escalated over the past year.

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian security officer during clashes in the occupied West Bank flashpoint city of Jenin on Monday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the report. 

Earlier it said in a statement that its forces came under heavy Palestinian fire while seeking the arrest of security suspects in Jenin and returned fire at the gunmen.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party identified the officer as Ashraf Sheikh Ibrahim, saying he had died “as he confronted the aggression and the occupation’s storming of the city of Jenin”.

In another part of the West Bank on Monday, Jewish settlers inaugurated a seminary in an area that has been a focus of US scrutiny, drawing Palestinian condemnation.

READ | Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in West Bank: Palestinian ministry

In a video posted on social media, settler leader Yossi Dagan recited a Jewish benediction at the entrance to the Homesh seminary school, a large white prefabricated shack at the top of a West Bank hill.

“With God’s help… there will be many more new settlements in northern Samaria,” he said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.

A Palestinian girl walks past a charred car after it was allegedly set on fire by Israeli settlers in the village of Jalud, south of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank.

Masked militants of the Palestinian Fatah movement

Masked militants of the Palestinian Fatah movement’s ‘Aqsa Martyrs Brigades’ armed faction march in centre of the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank after a rally demanding the release of Nasser Abu Hamid, a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel who suffers from cancer.

US-led peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza broke down in 2014 and show little sign of revival, and Israeli-Palestinian violence has escalated over the past year.

Most countries deem Israel’s settlements illegal – a view Israel disputes. 

Palestinians say they eat away at the land they want for a future state and cite growing violence by settlers.

Abbas said Homesh must be removed. 

His spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said:

Statements of condemnation are no longer enough in the face of the (Israeli) extremist right-wing government.

In a bid to quell international concern, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel has no intention of building any new settlements as his nationalist-religious government has vowed to bolster existing ones.

Spokespeople for Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on whether any of them had authorized the establishment of the new Homesh seminary.

Last week, Smotrich, who heads the pro-settler Jewish Zionism party and holds some West Bank powers, said Homesh had been officially added to settlement council land in order to work out a new building plan for the seminary school.

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