Thousands mourn Palestinian teenager killed Israeli in raid on Balata

Thousands mourn Palestinian teenager killed Israeli in raid on Balata
Israel has conducted a series of brutal raids in the occupied West Bank this year, with scores of Palestinians killed.
4 min read
West Bank
14 June, 2023
Fares Hashash, 19, was killed by raiding Israeli forces in Balata refugee camp on Tuesday [Getty]

Thousands of Palestinians mourned the death of 19-year-old Fares Hashash, killed by Israeli forces in the refugee camp of Balata in Nablus.

Hashash died shortly after being shot several times in the stomach and lower limbs, according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

His funeral was held in the Nablus refugee camp on Tuesday, shortly after the young man was gunned down and another nine Palestinians wounded.

"Fares was a very nice and simple young man, not the type that would get in trouble, and everybody in the camp loved him," a neighbour of Fares Hashash's family told Palestinian media during his funeral. "This is a day of mourning in Balata."

Residents told The New Arab that Hashash was an innocent bystander when the raid took place and was not taking part in any confrontation with Israeli soldiers that Palestinian fighters were engaged in at the time.

Israeli forces raided Balata at noon, hunting down a wanted Palestinian who Israel accused of being a militant.

"I received a call from an unknown number, the caller identified himself as an Israeli army officer, and told me that they were coming for my son," the wanted man said in a video posted on social media.

"He said that if my son doesn't surrender, they will destroy the house on everybody inside it. There was my elderly mother, my daughters and my wife."

Israeli forces targeted the house with missiles, causing it to catch fire, residents said. The family was able to evacuate the building and the wanted Palestinian was pulled out alive by other youths, suffering only light injuries.

Jamal Rayan, a resident and human and local documenter in Balata told The New Arab, that a group of Israeli soldiers entered Balata in disguise but were soon spotted by a group of children owing to their odd behaviour.

Palestinian fighters soon engaged the soldiers, with more Israeli reinforcements streaming in and "opening fire on everything in the street".

"There were at least nine people in the three-story house that was surrounded, including a handicapped man in a wheelchair, and they all exited the house before it caught fire," he said.

"Local fighters engaged the occupation forces with gunfire and explosive devices without stop throughout the raid, to the point that they had to withdraw without accomplishing their mission.

"Nine people were wounded by the occupation forces with live fire and dozens were asphyxiated with tear gas, and at least two occupation soldiers were seen injured as confirmed residents," he added.

Local armed group the Nablus Brigade, close to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said in a statement made public on Telegram that its fighters had engaged Israeli forces during the raid on Balata and that several soldiers were wounded. No official statement by the Israeli army commented on the injuries.

Meanwhile, one Israeli settler and four Israeli soldiers were wounded in a shooting attack near the village of Yaabad, west of Jenin.

The Israeli army imposed a military closure on Yaabad following the shooting attack, which continued through Wednesday morning. Israeli forces arrested five Palestinians in the village, and confiscated security cameras.

The Israeli escalation in Balata came as the UN coordinator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, discussed the situation in Palestine with the secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Geith, in Cairo.

Wennesland noted the difficult situation in the Palestinian territories, especially in light of Israeli settlement expansion taking place in the West Bank and Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian official agency ‘Wafa’.

Last week, Israeli government officials informed the US administration of Israel’s intention to announce the building of 4500 additional settlement units in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Meanwhile, Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns and cities continue on a daily basis.

With the killing of Fares Hashash, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2023 rises to 165, of whom 39 have been killed in the Nablus governorate, including 12 in the Balata refugee camp alone.