Palestinian woman killed, dozens detained by Israel following far-right 'flag march'

Palestinian woman killed, dozens detained by Israel following far-right 'flag march'
A Palestinian woman was killed and dozens of Palestinians detained in the aftermath of Tuesday’s far-right Israeli ‘flag march’ through East Jerusalem, which Palestinian-Israeli lawmaker Mansour Abbas denounced as an 'unbridled provocation'.
3 min read
16 June, 2021
Israeli forces shot Mai Afana in her car [AFP-Getty]

A Palestinian woman was killed near Jerusalem by Israeli forces on Wednesday morning following a provocative "flag march" through Jerusalem’s Old City by Israeli extremists.

Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank and detained at least 22 people on Wednesday.

The woman was shot by Israeli forces in her car in the town of Hizma north of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian health ministry, and later died of her wounds.

Official Palestinian news website Wafa identified her as Mai Afana, a 29-year-old doctor from the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.

The Israeli army claimed she attempted to ram soldiers with her car before "exiting her vehicle with a knife drawn" before being shot by soldiers.

The killing of Afana came just days after the Israeli army built a new outpost near Hizma and began constructing a road for the military. The town lies close to the Israeli barrier separating the West Bank from Jerusalem and is surrounded by three Israeli settlements.

On Tuesday, Palestinians in and around Jerusalem protested before and during the extremist flag march. At least 17 were detained and 33 injured by Israeli security forces.

Israeli forces detained 22 people in towns and cities in the West Bank, including Tulkarm, Hebron, and Nablus, on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Wafa.

One of those detained near Nablus was a 22-year-old man who was shot by the Israeli army last week during an anti-settlement protest. He has been discharged from the hospital only two days previously.

A young man was also wounded on Tuesday night after being shot by Israeli forces close to the Israeli separation barrier near Jenin.

Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza overnight Tuesday after incendiary balloons were fired from the Palestinian enclave towards southern Israel during the far-right flag march.

Israeli extremists on the march chanted racist slogans including "Death to Arabs" as they paraded through the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, although turnout for the march was lower than initially expected.

On Wednesday morning, around 70 Jewish extremists, protected by Israeli forces, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyard in Jerusalem and performed rituals there.

Mansour Abbas, the leader of the United Arab List (UAL) Palestinian-Israeli party, condemned Tuesday’s march as “an unbridled provocation, which is based on shouts of hatred and incitement to violence, and an attempt to set the area on fire for political reasons”.

The UAL is part of the disparate coalition of political parties which ousted long-time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power earlier this week and its support was crucial to the formation of Israel’s new governing coalition.

Abbas added that Israeli Public Security Minister Omar Barlev and Israeli police should never have allowed the march to take place.