Monday, October 2, 2023

UN Middle East envoy ‘deeply alarmed by cycle of violence’ in West Bank

Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, says he is “deeply alarmed by the continuing cycle of violence and appalled by the continued loss of civilian lives”. Four Israeli settlers and two Palestinians have been killed in the recent violence in the occupied West Bank.

In a Twitter post, he urged “all sides to refrain from steps that could further enflame an already volatile situation”.

At least four Israeli settlers have been killed in a shooting by two Palestinian gunmen near an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank – a day after a deadly raid carried out by Israeli troops.

Four other settlers were wounded on Tuesday, two seriously, in the attack near Eli in the northern West Bank, the Magen David Adom emergency services announced in a statement.

One of the gunmen was shot dead at the scene and Israeli forces later killed the second suspect near Nablus after he fled in a taxi.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government will use all options available to fight those trying to “hurt” his people.

“Our forces are now working in the field to hold the killers accountable. We have proven in recent months that we take revenge on all murderers without any exception,” he stressed, adding, “Whoever harms us will either end up in the grave or in prison. This is what will happen in this case as well. And I want to say to all those who see to harm us: All options are open.”

The violence comes a day after six Palestinians were killed in the Jenin refugee camp during a large-scale Israeli military incursion.

Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, the group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip, described the shooting as a “response to the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation” in Jenin and elsewhere.

Hamas later said one of the attackers was a member of its armed wing.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also commended the attack, saying it was a natural response to growing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

The armed group said it considered the shooting to be part of Palestinians’ “legitimate right to exercise self-defence”.

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