Israeli army imposes 'military closure' over Hebron after Israeli settler killed

Israeli army imposes 'military closure' over Hebron after Israeli settler killed
In the second shooting against Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, one Israeli was killed, and a second was wounded. The Israeli army continues to raid and seal off Palestinian towns as it searches for shooters.
4 min read
West Bank
21 August, 2023
The 40-year-old woman is the third Israeli killed in the West Bank since Saturday [Getty]

An Israeli settler was killed and another wounded in a shooting attack south of Hebron on Monday, 21 August, the Israeli army confirmed. This is the second attack by unknown Palestinian gunmen since Saturday, in which one Israeli settler was killed near the occupied West Bank town of Nablus. 

According to Israeli reports, the Israeli settler, a 40-year-old woman, was killed today while driving on an Israeli-only road in the south of the occupied West Bank when an unknown shooter opened fire. According to reports, a 6-year-old girl was in the same car but was unhurt. Another settler was wounded during the same attack and taken to an Israeli hospital.

Following the attack earlier on Monday, Israeli forces blocked entrances to Hebron city and launched a manhunt for the shooter, according to local sources.

"Car traffic has completely stopped in and out of the city after occupation forces blocked all entrances to the city," a human rights activist and resident of Hebron, who asked not to be named, told The New Arab. "Occupation troops began to raid houses and search cars in the south of the city after imposing a military closure over the area."

"Life in the city centre continues, although circulation is much less than usual," they pointed out. "Residents are worried of retaliation by Israeli settlers, especially in the old city, where shops are shutting down."

Hebron is at the centre of tensions. Since the early 1980s, some 500 Israeli illegal settlers, including hard-line religious zionists, have occupied parts of the city, guarded by thousands of Israeli troops and live under strict separation from the Palestinian population. 

The shooting comes two days after two Israeli settlers were killed in the town of Hawara, south of Nablus, where Israeli forces continue searching for the shooter. Movement in Hawara continues to be blocked by the Israeli army, residents told TNA.

"Occupation forces have taken over Hawara, blocked internal streets with dirt mounds and deployed soldiers all over the town," Mahmoud Shehadeh, a shop owner and resident of Hawara, told TNA.

"The soldiers also prevented businesses from opening; throughout the weekend, all shops and businesses were closed, movement in the town completely dead," he said.

"Soldiers raided several houses and searched them, but without arresting anyone", pointed out Shehadeh. "A dozen Israeli settlers also attacked the town's northern part, but young men fought them off, and they didn't cause much damage", he added.

According to residents, Israeli forces also continued to block the village of Aqraba for the third day, near Hawara, where they arrested two Palestinians.

"Occupation forces continue to be stationed at the village's entrances", Yousef Deriyeh, a resident of Aqraba, told TNA.

"Soldiers raided and searched several houses, and on Monday before dawn, they eleven raided and searched the village's mosque," he said.

Hawara has witnessed an escalation of violence since last February, when hundreds of Israeli settlers staged a rampage through the town, torching dozens of Palestinian houses and cars, in retaliation to the killing of two Israelis in the town's main street.

Shootings against Israeli settlers and soldiers in Hawara and settler attacks on the town continued in the following months.

On Saturday, Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich announced US$180 million in funding for new settlement projects in the West Bank.

Earlier this year, Israel's government transferred the jurisdiction over the West Bank settlements from the Israeli army to the finance ministry, led by Smotrich, a far-right religious Zionist campaigning to annexe the occupied West Bank.

During a political event in May, Smotrich admitted that Israel's settlement expansion aimed to prevent "geographical continuity" for Palestinians and ensure it for illegal Israeli settlements.