A Palestinian officer has been shot dead after he allegedly attacked and wounded three Israeli troopers at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.
Palestine’s Ma'an news agency said Monday that the policeman, identified as Muhammad Turkman, was killed after he opened fire at Israeli forces stationed at an illegal post near the city of Ramallah.
The shooting took place around 5 pm local time close to the illegal settlement of Beit El.
The Israelis claimed that the forces at the checkpoint had responded to Turkman’s fire, killing him instantly. They said one of the Israeli troopers was seriously injured in the incident while the two others suffered wounds from shrapnel. The three were transferred to a nearby hospital, they said.
Palestinian sources said Turkman was a 25-year old officer from Jenin, in northern occupied West Bank. Israelis claimed he was a member of the special police force working with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), which runs the West Bank. They claimed that Turkman was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle.
The PA’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, said on its website that Turkman’s life could be spared if the Israeli forces had not barred the access of the Red Crescent staff to his body at the scene of the incident.
The daily called Turkman a martyr and condemned his killing at the hands of Israelis. It also said that the Israelis had declared Ramallah and its surroundings as a closed military zone following the Monday incident.
The death of Turkman is the latest in one year of Israeli crackdown on the Palestinians living in the occupied territories. The action began after Palestinians launched sporadic attacks on Israeli settlers and forces in retaliation for an increasing wave of violence against the Palestinians. The anger was also rooted in a plan by the regime in Tel Aviv to change the status quo of the al-Aqsa Mosque, a highly revered place for the Muslims located in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Ma’an said Turkmen was the 237th Palestinian killed by the Israelis since the crackdown began in October last year. The Israelis claim that more than two dozen settlers and troopers, along with a number of foreigners, have also been killed in the violence.