Clashes turn deadly in the West Bank

AFP , Thursday 10 Jan 2013

At least two Palestinians killed after clashes erupted between Israeli settlers and Palestinians living in the West Bank

Israeli settlers opened fire in the northern West Bank on Thursday wounding two Palestinians in separate incidents, Palestinian security forces and witnesses said.

The Israeli military confirmed "clashes" between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the two locations, but said they had no information on settler gunfire or Palestinian casualties.

The first incident occurred on the edge of the Yitzhar settlement, near the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Palestinian sources said a group of Palestinians from a neighbouring village were playing in the snow near Yitzhar when settlers opened fire at them.

Tariq al-Safadi, 22, was hit in the leg and taken to hospital in Nablus, security sources said.

The second incident occurred in Qusra, another northern West Bank village, when residents from the Esh Kodesh settlement entered the area, witnesses and security sources said.

Local youths threw stones and snowballs at the settlers, who responded with gunfire, wounding 18-year-old Ammar Masameer. Security sources said he was also hit in the leg, and was taken to hospital in Nablus.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said there were clashes in the two areas.

"There is currently a confrontation by Esh Kodesh which involves mutual rock throwing between Palestinians and Israeli residents," she told AFP.

"In the other incident, Palestinians approached the area of Yitzhar and the Israeli army was called. They used riot dispersal means, including firing in the air," she said.

"We have no reports of injuries," she added, saying she had no information on whether Israeli settlers had opened fire.

Clashes between Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank have increased in recent months, with security sources warning the violence could escalate further.

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