Israeli forces kill Palestinian, take $2.8m from West Bank money changers
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian and wounded five others during an overnight military raid on the West Bank city of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The victim was identified by the Palestinian health ministry as 23-year-old Hazem Qattawi from theRamallah town of Beitunia.
A second Palestinian, 21-year-old Tareq Shakhsir, was pronounced dead on Thursday after succumbing to wounds caused by Israeli forces during a raid on Nablus ten days ago.
Qattawi was wounded by Israeli forces who were confronted with stones and gunfire by Palestinian residents around Ramallah’s Lions’ Square. He was buried in Beitunia, in southern Ramallah, later on Thursday.
The farewell of Hazem Qatawi (23), who was killed during an overnight raid by Israeli forces in Ramallah, during his funeral on December 28, 2023— Eye on Palestine (@EyeonPalestine) December 28, 2023
من وداع الشهيد حازم عبد الفتاح القطاوي في بلدة بيتونيا غرب رام
Video footage circulated on social media on Thursday showed Israeli soldiers in the centre of Ramallah carrying a wounded Israeli soldier into a military vehicle. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces entered Ramallah around 3:00 am and broke into money exchange businesses.
“I was looking down from the balcony of my room in the Regenza Hotel, directly overlooking the street from which Israeli forces stormed into the centre town,” a visitor to Ramallah city told The New Arab.
“There were between 12 and 16 Israeli military vehicles along the street, and they were firing a lot of tear gas, then the soldiers came out of the vehicles and headed into this business," the witness said, pointing at a money changer store.
“They cut through the iron curtain, then they blew out the internal door, and broke in,” he added.
BREAKING: ISRAELI SOLDIER WOUNDED IN RAMALLAH pic.twitter.com/sG3AZf37wm— Sulaiman Ahmed (@ShaykhSulaiman) December 28, 2023
The Israeli raid continued until 6:00 am, when raiding forces withdrew from the city. In the street, the smell of tear gas continued to be felt, three hours after the raid had ended. Inside the money changer store, the owners, a Palestinian couple, described the storming.
“I woke up to the news of the raid to Ramallah, then I learned that our business was stormed through the news,” the wife told TNA. “This is the third time our business has been raided, but this time the occupation soldiers didn’t confiscate money like in the previous times,” she said.
“They arrested three of our employees from their homes,” the husband told TNA. "One of them had the key to the inside door, and the occupation soldiers could have simply opened the door, but they decided to just cut the iron curtain and break the door,” he said.
The Israeli army radio said that Israeli troops took some $2.8 million dollars worth of cash from various changer businesses in the West Bank early on Thursday. The announcement came shortly after Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant declared Israel’s classification of five Palestinian money changing companies as "terrorist".
Meanwhile, Palestinian local sources reported that Israeli raids in Jenin, Tulkarm, Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqilya were confronted by residents.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said in a statement that Israeli forces arrested 25 Palestinians during raids across the West Bank, raising the number of Palestinians arrested since 7 October to 4,820. Israeli forces had arrested more than 3600 Palestinians between January and October.
Since 7 October, Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 313 Palestinians in the West Bank.