Israeli West Bank incursion leaves Palestinian teenager dead

Israeli West Bank incursion leaves Palestinian teenager dead
Israeli troops entered the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday night, sparking clashes with locals.
3 min read
15 December, 2018

Israel on Saturday demolished the home of a Palestinian accused of killing of a soldier last May, following a major incursion into the Palestinian-controlled city of Ramallah that started Friday and left a teenager dead.

Mahmoud Nakhla, 17, was killed by Israeli fire near the Jalazone refugee camp outside Ramallah on Friday, the Palestinian health ministry said. 

Israeli troops are searching for the perpetrator of a shooting on Thursday that left two dead, with major and controversial raids into Ramallah - home and headquarter's of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The illegal Israeli raids triggering clashes with angry residents following a week of rising tensions.

Israeli army and border police units took part in the operation to destroy the home of the alleged killer of an Israeli soldier earlier this year.

The Israeli soldier killed in May when a marble slab was hurled on his head from a building during an army raid with his commando unit taking part in this weekend's incursion.

Several hundred soldiers entered the city's al-Amari refugee camp late Friday, leaving on Saturday morning, AFP reported.

"During the operation, dozens of Palestinians instigated a number of violent riots. The rioters hurled rocks towards the forces, who responded with riot dispersal means," the army claimed.

Inside the camp, soldiers demolished the home of Islam Abu Hamid, who was arrested in June for the soldier's killing in May.

The family house was completely destroyed in a controlled explosion. 

Several hundred residents - including children and elderly - were ordered out of their homes and kept in a sports field in the cold of night while the army operation continued, AFP added.

"The weather was very cold. A lot of the elderly, the children and the women were ill," said Samir al-Tukhi, one of those kept outside.

It is the third time the house of Abu Hamid has been destroyed, with several of his brothers also jailed by Israel on terrorism charges, while one was killed.

Their mother, Latifa, told AFP the demolition didn't matter to her.

"The first time we rebuilt it, the second time we also rebuilt it. One hundred or one thousand times we will rebuild and they demolish it."

Israel regularly demolishes the family homes of Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israelis, which critics say amounts to collective punishment.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has faced pressure from far-right rivals and Israeli settlers for a strong response to the killing of the soldiers on Thursday.

It was the third deadly attack by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank in two months and set off demonstrations by settler groups on whose support Netanyahu's government depends.

The army claimed on Saturday that an "initial investigation" showed that a soldier opened fire when a Palestinian came toward him in what was seen as a potentially threatening way.

"Palestinians instigated a violent riot adjacent to Jalazone," a military spokesman told AFP, adding that troops were pelted with rocks.

"During the riot a Palestinian approached a soldier carrying a suspicious object," he said.

"In response the soldier fired toward the Palestinian. He was then treated at the scene by troops before being evacuated by a Palestinian ambulance."