Palestinian man killed by Israeli fire near Bethlehem

The killing reportedly occurred during an Israeli raid and comes amid an ongoing crackdown in the occupied West Bank.

Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian Omar Mana in Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank,
Palestinian mourners gather around the body of Omar Manaa in the occupied West Bank [Mussa Qawasma/Reuters]

A Palestinian man has been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian health officials.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said the victim is 22-year-old Omar Manaa, and that six other Palestinians were also wounded.

The shooting, which occurred near the city of Bethlehem on Monday, comes amid a crackdown by Israeli forces in the territory, with near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank, leading to killings and arrests.

According to WAFA, Israeli soldiers entered the Deheishe refugee camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the morning, sparking clashes with a group of local residents then firing tear gas and opening fire at the crowd.

The Israeli military said soldiers entered the camp to arrest what it described as three “wanted militants”. It said the soldiers opened fire after the crowd hurled rocks and firebombs at them.

The latest killing comes amid sky-high tensions and bursts of violence as the most right-wing government in Israel’s history is poised to be installed in the coming weeks.

More than 10 Palestinians have been killed since last week in the occupied West Bank, including 23-year-old Ammar Mufleh, who was shot at point-blank range by Israeli police in broad daylight on December 2.

Footage of the incident in Huwara showed Mufleh being held in a headlock by an Israeli soldier, as two other men try to wrestle him away.

In an effort to free himself of the soldier’s grip, Mufleh then appears to hit the soldier and tries to take hold of his rifle before the soldier pulls out a handgun and shoots him several times as he falls to the ground.

Palestinian activists have said the killing amounted to an “execution”.

In November, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, said 2022 was on track to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since the international body began keeping records of killings in 2005.

At least 140 Palestinians have been killed in the territory so far this year.

In total, in 2022, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the blockaded Gaza Strip, where Israel conducted air raids early on Sunday after a rocket landed in southern Israel.

Israeli has said the raids in the occupied West Bank are in response to a string of deadly attacks against Israelis earlier this year.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies