Palestinian shot by Israeli army succumbs to wounds

Islam Dweikat, 22, was shot by a rubber-coated bullet during protests near Nablus in early March, officials say.

    Palestinians say they staged a sit-in to fend off Israeli settlers keen on seizing the land [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]
    Palestinians say they staged a sit-in to fend off Israeli settlers keen on seizing the land [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

    A young Palestinian has died from wounds sustained three weeks ago when Israeli military forces opened fire on hundreds of people protesting against encroaching Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. 

    The 22-year-old, identified on Wednesday as Islam Dweikat, was shot on March 11 along the outskirts of Nablus, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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    Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, quoted a local official as saying he was shot by a rubber-coated bullet.

    "Following his injury, Dweikat was moved to a couple of local hospitals, where he underwent several operations and stayed in a coma until he was pronounced dead this evening," Wafa said.

    Mohammed Hamayel, 15, was also killed after being shot in the face by Israeli live fire on March 11, the ministry said at the time. At least 18 other Palestinians were wounded.

    The Israeli military had said in a statement that its soldiers were responding to a "violent riot" of some 500 Palestinians. It said the demonstrators burned tyres and hurled rocks at its troops.

    Locals in Jabal al-Armeh (al-Armeh mountain) said Israeli settlers had been eyeing the area since the early 1980s due to, among other factors, the location's height. 

    Reporting from the West Bank city of Ramallah, Al Jazeera's Nida Ibrahim at the time said confrontations had become a regular occurrence. 

    "Usually, settlers like to settle on high areas ... on hilltops ... this is a way for them to keep an upper hand if anything happens, including demonstrations."

    Most of Israel's settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and occupied West Bank are built with the government's permission. 

    Under international law, settlements and outposts are illegal. With the signing of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, settlement-building was to cease, but Israel continued to expand existing settlements on Palestinian land.

    Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem among about 2.9 million Palestinians.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies