Israeli troops kill Palestinian man during West Bank protest




JERUSALEM-Israeli forces have shot and killed a Palestinian and injured others during a protest against Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry and medics said.

The man sustained a gunshot wound to the head by Israeli forces in the northern village of Beita and succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Nablus, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Beita is the scene of regular demonstrations against Jewish settlement expansion, with residents demonstrating since May against the settlement outpost of Eviatar set up nearby without Israeli permission.

Palestinian media identified the victim as Jamil Abu Ayyash from Nablus in the West Bank.

The Israeli army has killed at least nine Palestinians with live ammunition since the beginning of confrontations in Beita, according to Palestinian media. Hundreds have also been wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters.

The Israeli army said it was "aware" of reports of the death of a Palestinian, adding that a "violent riot was instigated in the area of the Givat Eviatar outpost, south of Nablus".

"During the riot, hundreds of Palestinians hurled burning tyres and rocks at Israel Defence Force and Israeli Border Police troops, who responded with riot dispersal means to restore order," a statement from the military said.

Excluding occupied East Jerusalem, about 475,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal settlements in the West Bank, which is home to more than 2.8 million Palestinians. Settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are considered illegal under international law.

Palestinians see the West Bank, which Israel captured in the Six-Day War of 1967, as part of their future state. Palestinians say the Israeli policy of promoting settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is aimed at demographic change.

Jabal Sabih in Beita, a Palestinian village on the southern outskirts of Nablus in the northern West Bank, has been the site of intense confrontations this year after numerous attempts by Israeli settlers to take over Palestinian areas.

In May, about 50 Israeli settler families moved in after they erected a set of caravans on Jabal Sabih, spanning about 35 dunams (3.5 hectares). Their presence, along with the army to protect them, meant Palestinians could not access their areas.

The area is under threat of formal confiscation by the Israeli army, who may declare it "state land" or turn it into a military base.(mr/aje)

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