A Palestinian lawyer was killed Wednesday in Nablus on the sidelines of an operation by Israeli forces who say they are tracking suspects in the occupied West Bank linked to recent attacks in the Tel Aviv metropolis.
A bullet in the chest
“Mohammad Hassan Mohammad Assaf, 34, died after being shot in the chest by the Israeli occupation army during the assault on the city of Nablus,” the Palestinian health ministry said.
Witnesses said Mohammad Assaf was standing on the side of the road after taking his nephews to school when he was shot by Israeli soldiers. He “was a staunch defender of his people”, paid tribute to him by the Commission for Resistance to Settlement and the Wall, an entity of the Palestinian Authority for which he worked.
For its part, the Israeli army said it had carried out “counterterrorism operations” in various sectors of the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, notably opening fire in Beita and Nablus. The army did not say whether or not it opened fire directly on Mohammad Assaf.
Protecting Joseph’s Tomb Repair Work
The army says its soldiers were in Nablus to protect repair work on the alleged tomb of Joseph, the son of Patriarch Jacob, which was vandalized earlier this week when it was targeted by “rioters”. before opening fire.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also said on Sunday that he “will not allow such an attack against a sacred site to pass on the eve of Passover”.
A place of pilgrimage, theater of confrontations
On Monday, two Israelis were shot and wounded after returning to the Palestinian city of Nablus, one of them telling the Israeli Kan channel that he wanted to inspect Joseph’s tomb, a place of pilgrimage.
This site is the scene of recurring clashes between Israelis and Palestinians and was partly destroyed during the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, and also burned down in 2015. The Palestinian Authority considers this expanded site to be the place where Sheikh Yussef Dweikat, a local Muslim figure, was buried two centuries ago.
31 injured in Nablus area
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, a total of 31 people were injured in the Nablus area and in the nearby village. Among them, 10 were injured by live ammunition.
These military operations come after four attacks perpetrated in Israel since March 22, the first two by Israeli Arabs linked to the jihadist organization Islamic State (IS) and the last two by Palestinians from the Jenin sector, in the north of the West Bank.
These anti-Israeli attacks resulted in a total of 14 deaths. During the same period, 16 Palestinians, including attackers, were killed in violence.