Hundreds of Jewish settlers attacked a number of Palestinian villages in the vicinity of the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, in retaliation for the killing of a settler.
Dozens of settlers streamed into the alleys of villages in the area, attacking Palestinian vehicles with stones, assaulting people and firing stun grenades and smoke bombs.
The Israeli army announced that its forces were carrying out a large search operation in the vicinity of Nablus to determine the location of the attackers, who shot at the settler, 35-year-old Raziel Shevach, as he was driving along Route 60 near the “illegal” settlement of Havat Gilad, where he resides.
Palestinian citizens reported that Israeli soldiers stormed several villages and southern areas such as Nablus and Al-Mahfida. They confiscated surveillance cameras and arrested Palestinian TV crews who broadcast live reports on their practices.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued instructions to examine the possibility of legitimizing Havat Gilad as a “legal” settlement.
The Israeli army has summoned about 2,000 soldiers to carry out unusual operations in the area.
The occupation army imposed a complete closure on the towns and villages of Nablus governorate, which resulted in the siege of hundreds of cars for the Arab citizens of Israel, who stayed in Nablus overnight.
Hebrew media reported that the Israeli army has ordered an extensive and unusual security operation in the villages of Nablus following the killing of the settler.
In the first direct US reaction to the operation, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attacked the Palestinian Authority and appeared to be holding it responsible for the killing of the settler, by accusing it of encouraging such operations by “paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners and their families.”
“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood… Hamas praises the killers and PA (Palestinian Authority) laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further (as) to why there is no peace…” Friedman said on his Twitter account.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry responded by accusing Friedman of supporting the extreme right in Israel and being totally biased towards the occupation and the illegal settlement.