Israeli army enters Palestinian town to stop rampaging settlers ■ One Palestinian dead and dozens wounded, houses and vehicles set on fire ■ Netanyahu asks citizens ‘not to take law into own hands’
Buildings on fire in Hawara in the West Bank Josh Breiner
A few hours after Sunday’s shooting which killed two Israelis, a large group of settlers entered the West Bank town of Hawara and began throwing rocks at houses and setting trees and cars in the village on fire.
36 houses have been burned along with 15 cars and 9 families have been evacuated.
The settlers set a house on fire when a Palestinian family was inside but Israeli security forces have rescued the family safely. The Palestinian health ministry reports that 37-year-old Sameh Aqtash died from gun shots to the stomach and another is seriously injured from head wounds after being hit by a rock. The Palestinian Red Crescent reports that 98 Palestinians have been wounded in the attacks by settlers, along with damage to 3 ambulances.
The Palestinians also report that following the shooting, a Palestinian was taken to hospital after being attacked by settlers in Nablus.
An Israeli military reserves battalion arrived at Hawara, south of Nablus, along with fire brigades, and is using riot control equipment to repel the settlers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the settlers “not to take the law into your hands” in an announcement on Sunday night.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant repeated Netanyahu’s call that settlers not take the law into their own hands and said he has “full confidence in the security forces.”
Opposition leader Yair Lapid tweeted in response that the Netanyahu government is a threat to Israel’s security after “Smotrich’s militias set out to burn Hawara.”
On Sunday night, Israeli settlers returned to the illegal outpost of Evyatar. The settlers issued calls to organize a march to Hawara earlier on Sunday in order to, in their own words “seek revenge” for the attacks.
Two Jewish Israelis were shot dead earlier on Sunday when driving through the West Bank town of Hawara, near the city of Nablus. According to local sources, the Palestinian shooter, who was wearing a shirt with the insignia of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den militant group, rammed their car before shooting them both several times and fleeing the scene. The Israeli military is searching the area for the assailant.
The Israeli fatalities are 22-year-old Hillel Yaniv, and 20-year-old Yagel Yaniv, two brothers from the settlement of Har Bracha in the West Bank.
At the same time, Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian and American representatives gathered in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba to try to secure calm in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Following the talks, Israel agreed to halt settlement construction in the West Bank for four months and will not approve establishing new outposts for six months.