Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian youth, damage refugee camp

Israeli soldiers have killed a young Palestinian man and seriously injured another during a large raid on a refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem, damaging infrastructure in the camp.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced 21-year-old Ayed Samih Khaled Abu Harb dead at 8:15am (06:15 GMT) on Tuesday, noting he was shot in the head. A funeral procession was held for him at 11am.

Israeli forces, with armoured tractors, stormed the overcrowded Nur Shams refugee camp from several fronts at dawn, inciting armed resistance from Palestinian fighters.

They bulldozed the road leading to the camp, which is minutes from Tulkarem city, and destroyed a number of homes and shops, as well as infrastructure, before withdrawing three hours later.

Taha al-Irani, head of the camp’s popular committee, spoke to Al Jazeera from the camp on Tuesday about the level of destruction and the shock of Abu Harb being killed and another man injured.

“I want to assure you that the martyr [Ayed], was just standing at his front door when he was killed, and the man in critical condition is a taxi driver who was headed to work,” al-Irani, 50, said, adding, “It’s total destruction in the camp … The main road tying the camp to other cities – to Tulkarem, Nablus, Ramallah – was partially destroyed.”

Nur Shams refugee camp, established in 1952, is one of the two camps in Tulkarem and was built to house Palestinian refugees from the Haifa area following the 1948 Nakba, or ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist militias.

Mohammad Abu Talal, a 39-year-old supermarket owner, told Al Jazeera: “The army entered with bulldozers and tractors. They destroyed the shop, they destroyed everything.”

In a statement, the Tulkarem Directorate of Education announced that schools would be suspended on Tuesday.

With the death of Abu Harb, the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army since the beginning of this year has risen to 232.

The Israeli army announced it arrested 21 Palestinian “wanted suspects” overnight on Tuesday alone. The total number of Palestinians held in various forms of Israeli detention is in the thousands.

The Israeli army has been militarily occupying the West Bank, where some three million Palestinians live, for 56 years.

Over the past two years, Palestinian armed resistance has reorganised and risen in prominence, particularly in the north of the occupied West Bank. In response, Israel has been attempting to crush this resistance through near-daily raids on Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps that almost always result in casualties.

Nur Shams was targeted in another recent large-scale Israeli raid on July 24, during which at least 13 Palestinians were injured, including four with live ammunition and nine by shrapnel. Israeli forces also damaged infrastructure badly during that raid, forcing the Palestinian Authority to dedicate a portion of its budget to the camp’s reconstruction.

“Thank God that we haven’t put out tenders for reconstruction of roads and infrastructure [after the earlier raids] yet,” stated al-Irani.

On August 5, the Israeli army raided the camp and shot 18-year-old Mahmoud Abu Sa’an in the head at point-blank range, killing him, the Health Ministry said. Abu Sa’an had just graduated from high school.

“If the Israeli thinks that he can achieve security and peace through his oppression and these crimes that he carries out, he is delusional. This would not come unless Palestinians are given their rights, to live in dignity in their state,” added al-Irani.

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