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Jewish settlers attack West Bank villages after Palestinian gunmen kill Israeli

The death of settler Yehuda Dimentman has threatened to ignite further violence between Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.

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Jewish settlers, far back, clash with Palestinians, just after the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman, 25, who was killed in a shooting attack by a Palestinian gunman, in the West Bank village of Burqa, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Palestinian gunman opened fire Thursday night at a car filled with Jewish seminary students next to a West Bank settlement outpost, killing an Israeli man and lightly wounding two other people, Israeli officials said. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Jewish settlers, far back, clash with Palestinians, just after the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman, 25, who was killed in a shooting attack by a Palestinian gunman, in the West Bank village of Burqa, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Palestinian gunman opened fire Thursday night at a car filled with Jewish seminary students next to a West Bank settlement outpost, killing an Israeli man and lightly wounding two other people, Israeli officials said. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Jewish settlers, far back, clash with Palestinians, just after the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman, 25, who was killed in a shooting attack by a Palestinian gunman, in the West Bank village of Burqa, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Palestinian gunman opened fire Thursday night at a car filled with Jewish seminary students next to a West Bank settlement outpost, killing an Israeli man and lightly wounding two other people, Israeli officials said. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Jewish settlers have burst into several villages in the occupied West Bank, smashing homes and cars and beating up at least two people, Palestinian officials said.

The attacks came a day after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli man in an ambush in the territory.

The death of settler Yehuda Dimentman, after gunmen opened fire on his car near a West Bank settlement outpost late on Thursday, threatened to ignite further violence between Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.

Two other passengers in the vehicle were lightly wounded.

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Israeli soldiers stand between Palestinians and a Jewish settler (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Israeli soldiers stand between Palestinians and a Jewish settler (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

AP/PA Images

Israeli soldiers stand between Palestinians and a Jewish settler (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activities, said groups of settlers entered several Palestinian villages near the northern city of Nablus early on Friday, smashing cars and homes.

Two Palestinians required hospital treatment.

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In the Palestinian village of Qaryout, settlers broke into one house and tried to abduct a local resident, Wael Miqbel, according to Mr Daghlas.

Photos shared on social media showed Mr Miqbel with bruises and swelling across his face, while other videos and photos published online showed confrontations between armed settlers and Palestinian residents.

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Israeli soldiers stand guard as people gather for the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Israeli soldiers stand guard as people gather for the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

AP/PA Images

Israeli soldiers stand guard as people gather for the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

Israeli leaders have vowed to find the assailants behind Thursday’s shooting and the army deployed additional forces to the area. According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, at least three men from the northern village of Burqa were arrested in overnight raids.

The army said on Friday that the hunt for the Palestinian gunmen was ongoing.

Mr Dimentman’s car came under fire after leaving a Jewish seminary in the outpost of Homesh, a former settlement evacuated as part of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

In recent years, settlers have re-established an unauthorised outpost at the site, one of dozens in the West Bank that are considered illegal but often tolerated by the Israeli government.

No group has claimed the shooting, although the Hamas militant group, which rules the Gaza Strip, praised the attack.

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Mourners attend the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman (Moti Milrod/AP)

Mourners attend the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman (Moti Milrod/AP)

AP/PA Images

Mourners attend the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman (Moti Milrod/AP)

Hundreds gathered for Mr Dimentman’s funeral service in Homesh on Friday morning, before the body was taken to Jerusalem for burial.

The latest attacks come amid an increase in Israeli-Palestinian violence across the West Bank and in east Jerusalem.

Earlier this month, an ultra-Orthodox Jew was seriously injured in a stabbing by a Palestinian outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. A week before, a Hamas militant opened fire in the Old City, killing an Israeli man. Both attackers were killed by Israeli forces.

Settler violence against Palestinians has seen a similar rise during the olive harvest. In mid-November, settlers attacked a group of Palestinian farmers with pepper spray and clubs in the farmland surrounding Homesh, injuring four people.

Israel captured east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. The territories are now home to more than 700,000 Jewish settlers, although Palestinians seek both areas as parts of their future independent state.

Palestinians, along with most of the international community, consider settlements to be illegal and the major obstacle to peace.


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