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Two Palestinians killed in West Bank amid drastic rise in settler attacks

A Palestinian combs through the ruins of his burned-out home in the village of Mughayyir near Ramallah on April 13, 2024, amid an uptick in Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli settlers have killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian officials and witnesses, after a weekend of escalating violence across the territory.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA, citing the Palestinian Health Ministry, identified the victims of the Monday attack near the northern West Bank village of Aqrabah, located eighteen kilometers (11.18 miles) southeast of Nablus, as Abdulrahman Maher Bani Fadel, 30, and Mohammed Ashraf Bani Jame, 21.

Salah Bani Jaber, mayor of Aqrabah, who witnessed the settler attack, said that about 50 settlers, many of them armed, attacked members of his community.

They “assaulted residents and fired at people in the town leading to the death of two citizens,” the mayor said, adding that “the occupation army is still holding the bodies.”

“There were Israeli soldiers at the scene who stood idly by watching the settlers,” he told the Reuters news agency.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said Israeli soldiers blocked its ambulances from reaching the area and tending to the wounded.

Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank are under constant threat as armed Israeli settlers continue to launch violent attacks on them, their families, and their homes in acts of vengeance.

Palestinian Ministry of Health officials reported on Monday that four Palestinians had been killed in Israeli settler attacks since Friday.

The recent settler attacks are part of a broader wave of violence which has heightened since Israel’s devastating war on Gaza. The war has killed at least 33,797 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, and wounded another 76,465 individuals, according to the health ministry in the territory.

Armed settlers and the Israeli army have killed 460 Palestinians and injured 4,800 others in the occupied West Bank since October 7.

On April 13, Israeli settlers spearheaded a large-scale attack on the village of al-Mughayyir, where they killed one Palestinian man and injured 25 others.

Since then, settlers have attacked more towns and villages near Ramallah, including Bukra, Dayr Dibwan and Kfar Malik.

Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank, and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

The aggression includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, and attacks on vulnerable families, among others.

Over 700,000 extremist Israeli settlers are living in illegal settlements across occupied East al-Quds and the West Bank in violation of international law.

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