West Bank | Murder of young Israeli sparks renewed violence

(Al Mughayyir) The murder of a young Israeli shepherd on Saturday in the West Bank triggered a surge in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory where armed settlers stormed several villages.

Attacks targeting Palestinian towns north of Ramallah since the disappearance of the teenager on Friday have worsened and spread to Hebron (south) and Nablus (center) after the announcement of his death.

Around ten villages were cordoned off by the army and invaded by hundreds of settlers crying for revenge although the perpetrators of the crime have not yet been identified, leaving at least two dead, including a 17-year-old teenager, killed in Beitin, east of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Emergency services and Palestinian media also report dozens of injuries, including several from gunshots, including one person hit in the head.

An Israeli border police reservist “was slightly injured” by “a terrorist who fired on forces operating in the Sinjil area” (north of Ramallah), police said in a statement on Sunday.

“Dozens of settlers are attacking the village and burning everything they can get their hands on,” the mayor of al-Mughayyir, Amir Abou Alia, told AFP.

Plumes of smoke from burned houses, fields, buildings and agricultural machinery rose above the hills and valleys, AFP correspondents noted.

Call for calm

It was near al-Mughayyir that Benjamin Achimeir, 14, disappeared Friday morning while he was grazing his sheep, which returned without him to his farm in Malachei HaShalom.


Israeli soldiers set up a checkpoint during the search.

A vast operation was immediately launched by the army, and hundreds of civilians, including many settlers, deployed to try to find him.

The boy’s body was located Saturday midday not far away. “Benjamin Achimeir was assassinated in a terrorist attack,” the army, police and domestic intelligence service Shin Beth said in a statement.

Israeli security forces are engaged “in the intensive pursuit of the despicable assassins and all those who collaborated with them,” declared Benjamin Netanyahu, denouncing “a heinous crime.”

The head of government also appealed for calm by calling on “all Israeli citizens to allow the security forces to do their work without hindrance”, and his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, warned against any “act of revenge.”

The leader of the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, for his part denounced “the settler violence” described as a “dangerous violation of the law”.


Al-Muhayyir bore the scars of the violence on Saturday.

In Ramallah, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Mustafa, warned that these attacks would not “discourage[aient] not our people to remain on their lands and to frustrate the displacement and expulsion efforts” of the Palestinians from the territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Smoking carcasses

Al-Muhayyir bore the scars of the violence on Saturday. Around houses or sheds with walls blackened by flames, cars, vans or agricultural machinery were set on fire, noted an AFP photographer.

Some dazed residents explored the remains of their house, of which only the skeleton of concrete blocks and the gaping windows overlooking the plain remained.

On the side of the roads, dozens of cars burned and roadblocks set up by the army to search vehicles.

According to the mayor of Duma, near Nablus, the West Bank “has been experiencing a real state of war since yesterday” Friday. In his commune alone, 15 houses and 10 livestock farms were burned, he assured AFP.

These clashes occur in a context of increased confrontation in the West Bank since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, triggered on October 7 by the bloody attack of the Palestinian Islamist movement in Israeli territory.

In the West Bank, at least 462 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers since the start of the war, according to the Palestinian Authority.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, urged Friday “the UN to authorize the deployment of a protective presence” in the territories.

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