Schools shut as Israeli forces hunt for West Bank shooting suspect

AFP , Sunday 20 Aug 2023

Schools were shut Sunday in the occupied West Bank town of Huwara as Israeli troops searched for the suspected attacker who shot and killed two Israelis over the weekend.

Israeli security forces block a road following a reported attack in the town of Huwara in the occupied West Bank, on August 19, 2023. AFP


The two Israeli men were gunned down Saturday at a car wash in Huwara.

Nablus's acting governor Ghassan Daghlas ordered the closure of Huwara's schools "after requests from parents who are afraid of reactions from settlers", he told AFP.

Huwara, a Palestinian town near the city of Nablus, has seen a number of  Jewish settler's attacks against Palestinians since early last year.

"Whenever an attack occurs that negatively affects the residents of Huwara... settlers break in, hurl rocks and smash cars," local resident Ashraf Odeh told AFP.

"The army can do nothing for you because its priority is to protect the settlers before it protects us."

On Sunday, Israeli forces also blocked access to the nearby villages of Beita and Aqraba as their manhunt continued, an AFP correspondent reported from the area.

"Our security forces are currently looking for the murderer... this terrorist's day will also come and sooner than he thinks," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed at a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

At least 218 Palestinians have been killed in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year.

Some 30 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have also been killed, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is home to nearly three million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

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