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Israeli settlers close Nablus-area road in protest of deadly car ramming, vow revenge

April 6, 2017 2:31 P.M. (Updated: April 8, 2017 7:07 P.M.)
A protest held by Israeli settlers on April 6, 2017, with a little girl displaying a sign reading "Revenge" in Hebrew, after an alleged car-ramming attack in Ramallah that killed an Israeli and moderately injured another
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli settlers blocked off a road near the illegal Yizhar settlement in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Thursday, holding signs that called for revenge on Palestinians after an alleged car-ramming attack was carried out earlier in the day near the illegal Israeli Ofra settlement in Ramallah, which killed an Israeli soldier and wounded another moderately.

Hebrew-language media reported that some 30 Israeli settlers, residing in the occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of international law, protested at the road under protection of armed Israeli forces, blocking Palestinian cars from passing through.

The settlers held signs reading “revenge” in Hebrew.

An Israeli army spokesperson said she would look into reports. However, she said she was not sure if Israeli army forces were at the scene. Spokespersons for the Israeli police and border police were not immediately available to comment.

Earlier on Thursday, an Israeli soldier -- 20-year-old Elchay Teharlev -- was killed and another moderately injured, after a Palestinian car slammed into them at the Ofra junction near the illegal Israeli settlement by the same name.

Israeli forces detained the Palestinian driver at the scene, who was later identified as Malik Ahmad Moussa Hamid, 23, from Silwad in northeastern Ramallah.

Israeli authorities have cracked down on alleged “incitement” among Palestinians -- detaining scores for Facebook posts since unrest first broke out in the Palestinian territory and Israel in 2015 -- charging that Palestinian "incitement" has fueled attacks against Israelis. It was unclear whether Israeli authorities would also consider Israeli settlers' calls for revenge “incitement” against Palestinians.

On Saturday, Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Palestinian Ahmad Zahir Fathi Ghazal in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City, after he carried out a stabbing attack that left three Israelis lightly injured.

Witnesses said at the time that more than 25 bullet holes were puncturing the walls of the apartment, while adding that Israeli forces could have easily detained the teenager, "but they executed him."

Israeli forces also shot and killed a Palestinian woman last week after she allegedly carried out a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in the Old City, in which no Israelis were injured. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain Palestinian woman as 49-year-old Siham Ratib Nimr, from East Jerusalem.

Nimr was the mother of Mustafa Nimr, a 27-year-old Palestinian who was killed in September when Israeli border police showered his vehicle with live fire as he was driving near clashes outside of Shufat refugee camp, while he was bringing home food and baby clothes.

The number of Palestinians killed by Israelis has increased to 17 since the start of 2017, 16 of whom have been killed by Israeli armed forces, and another by an Israeli settler. Meanwhile, seven Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks when they were killed in seven of these cases, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have often cited the daily frustrations, unfettered illegal Israeli settlement expansion in Palestinian territory, and routine Israeli military violence imposed by Israel's nearly half century occupation of the Palestinian territory as main drivers for such attacks.
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