Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces in southern West Bank amid fears of Ramadan violence
A Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers near the town of Beit Ummar in the south of the occupied West Bank on Saturday, hours after another Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority identified the man as 23-year-old Mohammed Baradyah, according to an official statement.
The official Palestinian Wafa agency said that the soldiers opened fire at the man as he was driving a vehicle, critically injuring him.
Baradyah was left to bleed before succumbing to his wounds, as Palestinian medical personnel were prohibited from accessing the scene, WAFA said citing witnesses.
منفذ عملية غوش عتصيون هو محمد رعد نايف برادية ، ضابط في الآليات الأمنية للسلطة الفلسطينية ، 23 عاما من كفر صوريف في منطقة الخليل. pic.twitter.com/de8H6AKJlY— نُور 𓂆 (@nour77330) April 1, 2023
The Israeli army claimed that Baradyah conducted "a ramming attack at checkpoint adjacent to the town of Beit Ummar", reportedly injuring three soldiers.
The 23-year-old hailed from the town of Surif, northwest of Hebron.
Baradyah's death came less than 24 hours after another Palestinian was shot and killed outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the early hours of Saturday.
Israeli police said that the man, identified as 26-year-old Mohammed al-Asibi from the Bedouin town of Hura, southern Israel, snatched a gun from a police officer and attempted to fired it, before being shot dead.
However, Al-Asibi's relatives and Palestinian eyewitnesses denied this account, saying that the police had refused to release video footage showing the incident, and had only released footage of the killed Palestinian being present at the scene of an argument.
They demanded to see CCTV footage.
Passers-by reported hearing gunfire, and an AFP photographer saw scores of police deployed in the Old City at around 1:00 am (2200 GMT on Friday).
The Raam party, which is made up of Palestinian citizens of Israel and controversially took part in Israel's previous government, rejected the police account of events, noting in a Facebook post the claims from witnesses who said Asibi came to aid a woman who was in a scuffle with police. It called for an investigation.
Ra'am announced a "general strike and day of mourning" on Sunday following the "execution" of Asibi.
Witnesses refuted the Israeli police's claims that the slain man had grabbed the weapon.
The police, however, said they will were standing by their original version of events and issued another statement Saturday afternoon saying that the site of the attack was not covered by surveillance cameras.
The shooting occurred hours after tens of thousands of Palestinians attended the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for the second Friday prayers of Ramadan - the holy day of the week in Islam.
An upsurge in Israeli violence since the start of the year has sparked fears among Palestinians that bloodshed would intensify in the occupied territories during the holy month.
At least 92 Palestinians have been killed in 2023 alone, according to the Palestinian health ministry, in what has been described as one of the bloodiest periods in recent Palestinian memory.