The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the victim as 37-year-old Sameh Hamdallah Mahmoud Aqtash, saying the fatality was caused on Sunday after Israeli settlers and forces attacked the village of Za’tara, south of the city of Nablus, shooting the Palestinian man in the abdomen, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.
Hundreds of Palestinians were also injured during attacks by Israeli settlers and troops on Nablus area towns and villages on the same day, the report added.
The Israeli settlers reportedly began attacking the Palestinian areas earlier in the day after a gunman killed two settlers in the center of the West Bank town of Hawara, south of Nablus, by firing at their vehicle.
Footage recorded following the incident showed settlers blocking a street in the nearby Hawara area, lighting fires and throwing stones toward Palestinian homes.
According to Wafa, the settlers set fire to dozens of homes as well as other Palestinian-owned structures and vehicles.
The Israeli regime’s settlers and forces have escalated their attacks on Palestinians since late December 2022, when Benjamin Netanyahu staged a comeback as the regime’s prime minister at the head of a cabinet of hard-right and extremist parties.
Aqtash’s murder took the number of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the beginning of the year to 66, including four who were killed by Israeli settlers’ gunfire, 13 children, four elderly people, and one prisoner.
At least 21 of the fatalities were caused during two separate mass raids carried out by the Israeli troops on the cities of Nablus and Jenin, both in the northern part of the West Bank, earlier this year.
On Wednesday, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a stern warning concerning the flare-up in violence across the West Bank.
“The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is at its most combustible in years,” he stated, urging, “Our immediate priority must be to prevent further escalation, reduce tensions, and restore calm.”
The settlers’ attacks also came after senior officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority met in the Jordanian resort city of Aqaba to discuss ways of lowering tensions in the occupied territories.
The so-called Israeli-Palestinian security summit was organized by the White House in Jordan after the Israeli military’s deadly raid in Nablus.
Palestinian resistance groups had called on the Palestinian Authority to withdraw from the meeting, describing it as a US plot against Palestinian aspirations.