The IDF and Israel Police are trying to locate settlers who opened fire on Palestinians during clashes that erupted Monday afternoon near the Alei Ayin outpost, located near Nablus in the West Bank. Police were also trying to track down Jewish youths who threw stones at injured Palestinians while they were being treated by Israeli soldiers.
According to the security establishment, seven Palestinians and three settlers were injured during the clashes. Two of the injured Palestinians were shot by IDF troops, three more were shot by settlers, another was burnt when he picked up a gas canister, and the seventh Palestinian was hit by a rubber bullet, security officials said. The settlers were hurt by stones.
Settler leaders denied the security establishment's claim that settlers opened fire on Palestinians.
Clashes near Alei Ayin (Photo courtesy of Shomron Settlers' Committee)
Some security officials claimed the activity of Israeli leftists and anarchists in the area led to some of Monday's violence. The Palestinians said the confrontation began after Jewish youths from Alei Ayin arrived at the village of Qasra to uproot olive tree seedlings. The settlers, on their part, claimed dozens of Palestinians attacked a group of Jewish teenagers near the outpost for no reason.
The security establishment knows for a fact that after the initial clash, three Palestinians attacked one or two Jewish teens. More settlers and Palestinians arrived at the scene a short while later and began throwing stones at one another. Armed settlers were also present at the scene, security officials said.
Injured Palestinian at Nablus hospital (Photo: Reuters)
Soldiers who were alerted to the scene were pelted with stones by Palestinians. When a Palestinian armed with a sharp object advanced towards the small force, the deputy commander shot him in the leg. The deputy commander immediately began administering first aid to the injured Palestinian. Another Palestinian was shot by an IDF officer while trying to attack a settler.
By the time police and Border Guard officers arrived at the scene to help the soldiers contain the rioting, three more Palestinians had been shot.
The settlers fled the area as soon as the back-up forces arrived. Security officials also learned that Jewish teenagers threw stones at an injured Palestinian as he was being treated by IDF paramedics.
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