Thousands of Palestinians protest Israel's Nablus massacre
Israel was on high alert across the occupied West Bank on Friday, following mass demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians killed in a deadly assault in Nablus earlier this week.
Large crowds took to the streets of Nablus, as well as the towns of Hebron, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jenin, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Tubas, the Aqbat Jabr camp, and occupied East Jerusalem, outraged with the recent Israeli massacre and in support of the Lions' Den armed group.
Eleven Palestinians were killed and more people were wounded in an Israeli raid on Nablus Wednesday.
On Friday, another Palestinian died from his wounds sustained from another Israeli assault on Thursday.
Wednesday's was the deadliest Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank in nearly 20 years and came following a similar attack in Jenin in January which left 10 Palestinians killed.
"I swear by Almighty God to protect the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and the old town in Nablus, Jenin, and all of Palestine," chanted young men as they gathered in the centre of Nablus.
In Ramallah, men voiced their support for political prisoner Mosaab Shtayyeh whom Israel accuses of financing the Lions' Den. He has been in detention since September.
هتافات للمعتقل مصعب اشتية على دوار الشهداء وسط نابلس #عرين_الأسود pic.twitter.com/6J8bzHteNc— Hisham Abu Shaqrah | هشام أبو شقرة (@HShaqrah) February 23, 2023
A number of altercations were reported in different gathering points between the Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces, while two Palestinians were reportedly injured in gunfire in a village south of Nablus.
The Lions' Den had called on Palestinians to gather in the streets Thursday night across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the besieged Gaza Strip.
It warned people not to resort to any provocative acts against one another or other Palestinian factions, and to focus their anger "against the Israeli occupation".
In the coastal city of Haifa, 1948 Palestinians also carried out a solidarity protest with those killed in Nablus.
A video posted online showed people chanting slogans and holding up a Palestinian flag which was snatched by Israeli police.
تغطية صحفية: "وقفة في مدينة #حيفا المحتلة، قبل قليل، دعماً لنابلس." pic.twitter.com/DimhRvotYW— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) February 23, 2023
Israeli authorities were anticipating a retaliatory attack by the Lions' Den and Islamic Jihad in response to the Nablus raid, local newspaper Israel Hayom reported.
It said authorities were prepared for any escalation following Friday prayers and had deployed more personnel at various locations across the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Videos posted online showed Palestinians gathered Friday at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem.
تغطية صحفية: "وقفة تضامنية مع مدينة نابلس ونصرة للأقصى عقب صلاة الجمعة في المسجد الأقصى". pic.twitter.com/DiRAFY683G— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) February 24, 2023
Israel has launched near-daily raids in the West Bank since March 2022, killing at least 61 Palestinians since the beginning of 2023.
Netanyahu's hard-line Israeli government, which was formed in late December 2022, has intensified the persecution of Palestinians while vowing to expand settlements in the West Bank. It includes extreme-right ministers who have made incendiary racist statements against Palestinians before.