Israel bombards Gaza as troops kill Palestinian in West Bank

Israel bombards Gaza as troops kill Palestinian in West Bank
A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces on Saturday as renewed air strikes hit the besieged Gaza Strip.
3 min read
03 July, 2021
Troops killed a Palestinian man in the West Bank [Getty]

Israel attacked Gaza military targets late on Saturday, the army and Palestinian sources said, as authorities confirmed the killing of a Palestinian man in the West Bank. 

The Israeli army said fighter jets had "struck a weapon manufacturing site and a rocket launcher belonging to the Hamas terror organisation".

According to security sources and witnesses in Gaza, the facilities hit were west of Gaza City and in the northern Strip, with no immediate reports of casualties.

"The strikes were made in response to the arson balloons fired towards Israeli territory," said a statement from the Israeli army.

Incendiary balloons from Gaza caused fires in southern Israel's Eshkol region on Saturday and Friday, according to the fire service.

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On Thursday, four small fires caused by incendiary balloons from Gaza were extinguished in the Eshkol region.

Israel retaliated early on Friday with air strikes, which the army said struck "a weapons manufacturing site" belonging to Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Eleven days of deadly Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip ended on May 21 with a ceasefire declaration, after more than 250 Palestinians were killed including dozens of children.

There was no immediate indication as to which Gaza-based group was responsible for the latest balloon launch. 

Palestinian shot dead

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank on Saturday, Palestinian authorities said.

An Israeli army statement did not confirm the fatality, but said troops had fired at a suspect who threw "a suspicious object that exploded on the soldiers", amid violence by Israeli settlers.

The Palestinian health ministry said Mohammad Fareed Hasan, who was in his 20s, was killed in his village of Qusra near the city Nablus by Israeli gunfire, while two others were wounded.

"Hasan was standing on the rooftop of his home when he was shot dead," said a report on the official Wafa news agency. 

According to Wafa, Palestinians in Qusra, were "fending off an attack by hardcore Israeli settlers on the village". 

Israel's army said: "a violent confrontation between tens of Palestinians and Israeli settlers developed adjacent to the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, during which both sides hurled rocks at each other. 

"Troops who were present at the scene operated to distance both sides from the area using riot dispersal means.

"During the activity, a suspect was identified throwing a suspicious object that exploded on the soldiers, who responded by firing at the threat," the statement added. 

Illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, have proliferated in recent years. 

The Nablus area has seen heightened tension in recent days as Palestinians have held ongoing protests against the construction of an illegal Jewish outpost near the village of Beita

Israeli authorities have used aggressive means to disrupt the protests.

There have been five Palestinian fatalities and over 600 wounded amid during demonstrations in close to a month.

The settlers evacuated the outpost, known as Eviatar, on Friday in accordance an agreement they reached with Israel's new coalition government. 

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

There was no immediate indication of a link between the Eviatar fracas and Saturday's unrest. 

There are roughly 475,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, living alongside some 2.8 million Palestinians, in communities regarded as illegal by most of the international community. 

On Wednesday, it was reported that 31 of 33 building proposals for illegal settlements were authorised, the first under Israel's new far-right premier, Naftali Bennett.

These included a shopping mall in Mishor Adumim, an industrial zone in Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem.