Palestinian killed in Israeli attack

Published August 20, 2022
Palestinian protesters hurl rocks amid clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron, occupied West Bank, on Friday.—AFP
Palestinian protesters hurl rocks amid clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron, occupied West Bank, on Friday.—AFP

TUBAS: A Palestinian man died of his wounds on Friday after Israeli forces shot him, the Palestinian health ministry said, during what Israel’s military said was an early morning raid against suspected militants in the occupied West Bank.

Salah Tawfiq Sawafta, 58, was shot in the head in the West Bank city of Tubas, the Palestinian ministry said. His nephew said Sawafta was walking home from a mosque when he was hit.

Videos circulating on social media appeared to show Sawafta the moment he was shot. Gunshots could be heard as Sawafta, wearing the traditional jalabiya robe, rushed to take cover inside a bakery before falling to the ground at the entrance.

“Sheikh Salah was walking home when he called on Abu Obada (the bakery owner) to enter because gunshots had sounded,” said Zakaria Sawafta, 27, an eyewitness. “Seconds before he reached the bakery, they shot him in the head.”

He said Israeli forces were positioned on top of a tall building nearby and that there were no clashes in that area.

The Israeli military said Palestinians in Tubas had hurled Molotov cocktails and opened fire at its forces, who responded by firing back.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned Sawafta’s killing and said in a statement that Israel’s “terrorism” will continue as long as it is allowed to act with impunity.

Overnight, the military arrested five suspects from Tubas and the nearby town of Tammun who were allegedly involved in planning “terror attacks”, it said in a statement.

European states question Israeli action

Nine European countries, including France and Germany, said on Friday they were “deeply concerned” by the Israeli government’s forced closure of several Palestinian NGOs operating in occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military conducted overnight raids of seven organisations in Ramallah, the West Bank city where the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters are located, on Thursday.

“We are deeply concerned by the raids which took place in the morning of Aug 18, as part of a worrying reduction of space for civil society” in the territory, the foreign ministries of the nine countries said.

“These actions are not acceptable,” Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden said in a statement.

Six of the Palestinian organisations were labelled last October as terrorist groups by Israel for their alleged links to the leftist militant group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, although Israeli officials have not publicly shared any evidence of the links.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022

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