Israeli forces have opened direct fire on Palestinian journalists in the flashpoint town of Beita, near the West Bank city of Nablus, as tensions continue to escalate in the occupied territories.
Wahaj Bani Moufleh said he and his colleague Mohammad Sumrin were covering the closure of the town’s entrance with cement boulder by the Israeli military on Saturday when the regime’s troops directly shot live gunfire in their direction, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.
The shooting took place as the journalists were wearing easily-recognizable press attire.
Sumrin told Wafa that a number of soldiers first fired teargas canisters at a group of Palestinian youths, then came to where they were and opened fire in their direction but over their heads.
The soldiers forced them to pull back immediately and go into the town to avoid being hit, he added.
This is not the first time the Israeli military directly targets journalists while covering the occupying regime’s crimes in the occupied territories.
In May last year, Israeli forces intentionally targeted veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while she was covering their raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The 51-year-old journalist was murdered in cold blood as she was wearing press attire. Abu Akleh’s tragic death sent shock waves across the region, drawing global condemnation.
Multiple investigations by independent organizations and media outlets concluded that Abu Akleh was deliberately shot by Israeli forces.
Saturday’s development took place after an Israeli settler opened fire and injured five people in Beita.
Israeli troops then placed the boulders at the entrance of the town, blocking the movement of people instead of arresting the attacking settler.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settler activities in the north of the West Bank, warned that settlers have escalated their attacks against Palestinians.
"There are indications of settlers escalating their attacks and terrorism against Palestinians and their property,” he told WAFA.
Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.
Most of the raids have focused on Nablus and Jenin, where Israeli forces have been trying to stifle a growing Palestinian resistance in the occupied cities.
More than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, were killed across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem last year. In January 2023 alone, at least 38 Palestinians including five children have been killed.