Palestinian killed in clashes with Israeli army in West Bank: Palestinian ministry

RAMALLAH: Shops, offices and schools were closed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Thursday as Palestinians went on strike in protest at blockades and the killing of a man who killed an Israeli soldier in an attack on a checkpoint.

Uday Al-Tamimi, 22, was shot dead by security forces from the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, built on Palestinian land east of the cities of Abu Dis and Al-Azariya.

Israeli security forces hunted al-Tamimi after he killed a female soldier and wounded two security forces during attacks on Shuafat camp checkpoints earlier this month.

A blockade was imposed on the camp as police, border guards and the Shin Bet searched for him.

The Fatah movement had called for mourning for al-Tamimi and tantrums were organized around the announcement of the full-scale strike and escalation.

Clashes erupted at Israeli army checkpoints on Thursday, with flashbang grenades and tear gas being fired at young protesters. Israeli border guards used explosives against protesters on the outskirts of Jerusalem, injuring a young man’s foot.

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Several protesters suffered the effects of tear gas as Israeli forces repressed a march against a nearly two-week blockade of Nablus.

The north entrance to Ramallah, meanwhile, was the scene of clashes after hundreds mourned at the funeral of 16-year-old Mohammed Nuri, who died on Thursday from a gunshot wound he sustained last month.

The Fatah movement called on citizens to escalate their protests against the Israeli army and the settlers. The General Teachers’ Union announced a full-scale strike in all schools, directorates and the ministry.

According to Palestinian medical sources, the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this year has reached 123 – a number not seen in the Palestinian territories since 2006.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Thursday’s general strikes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were a form of peaceful popular resistance to the ongoing Israeli escalation and occupation crimes.

Israeli security forces fear that al-Tamimi’s actions could trigger copycat attacks.

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Al-Tamimi left a letter saying that he knew his actions were a footnote in the Palestinian struggle, that he knew he would be killed and that his attack would not liberate Palestine.

However, he added that he believed hundreds of Palestinian youth would follow his lead and return to armed struggle.

Ibrahim Mohammed, 53, from the Shuafat camp, praised al-Tamimi’s actions, noting that he had “impressed the Palestinian people with his unprecedented bravery.”

He said many of the camp’s 130,000 residents were saddened and mourned his loss.

“The continuous killing of Palestinians greatly increases Palestinian anger at the Israeli occupation,” he told Arab News.

Youths in Shuafat destroyed surveillance cameras to complicate the hunt for al-Tamimi. Hundreds cut their hair after Israeli police said they were looking for a man with a shaved head.

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PA Executive Committee and Minister for Social Development, told Arab News that resistance in the occupied territories was a natural reaction to Israeli aggression.

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“The daily killing provokes the Palestinians and there are two to four funerals a day, so what does the occupier expect? There is an unprecedented state of popular tension and anger against the occupation and the settlers, and it is increasing day by day.”

Majdalani said the state of instability, violence and closures by the Israeli army have increased the burden on the Palestinian government, adding that the Palestinian security services would not act as security agents for the occupation.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man died in custody after being arrested by the Palestinian Authority’s military intelligence agency in Ramallah. The PA claimed he took his own life. However, his family and human rights groups believe he was tortured.

The suspect, Mohamed Al-Banna, was the brother of Mahmoud Al-Banna, who was wanted by the Israeli security services for his activities with the local military group The Lion’s Den.

Since the PA was formed in 1994, several Palestinians have died in Palestinian security detention.

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