Death of Israeli teenager in West Bank fuels attacks on Palestinians

Hundreds of settlers raided nearby Palestinian villages, torching cars and homes, and left at least one villager dead and dozens wounded

By AFP

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People transport a casualty to a hospital in Ramallah on Friday. Photo: Reuters
People transport a casualty to a hospital in Ramallah on Friday. Photo: Reuters

Published: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 9:15 PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday condemned the "heinous murder" of an Israeli teenager in the occupied West Bank as attacks on Palestinian villages intensified following news of his death.

After Benjamin Achimeir, 14, was reported missing near Ramallah on Friday, hundreds of settlers raided nearby Palestinian villages, torching cars and homes, and left at least one villager dead and dozens wounded.


The attacks escalated in several villages on Saturday after Achimeir's body was found near the Malachi Hashalom outpost. AFP correspondents saw smoke rising from burnt houses and fields.

The mayor of nearby Al-Mughayyir village, Amin Abu Alyah, told AFP: "Dozens of settlers are now attacking the village and burning everything they find in front of them. They burned a house, a bulldozer and a number of vehicles."


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Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Mustafa condemned the attacks and urged the authorities to help the people of Al-Mughayyir.

Netanyahu said Israeli forces were "in an intensive pursuit after the heinous murderers and all those who collaborated with them".

"The heinous murder of the boy Binyamin Achimair is a serious crime," he said.

Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned "revenge" attacks would make it difficult for security forces to find the perpetrators. "The law must not be taken into one's own hands," he wrote on social media.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said "violent riots of the settlers are a dangerous violation of the law and interfere with the security forces."

With tensions already high in the face of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Israeli security forces and hundreds of volunteers formed a huge search party to look for Achimeir on Friday.

Settlers who were part of the manhunt raided Al-Mughayyir, firing shots and torching homes and cars in the village while residents responded by throwing stones, AFP journalists reported.

At least one person was killed and 25 wounded, the Palestinian health ministry said on Friday.

Overnight, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that five Palestinians were wounded in another settler attack in Abu Falah village near Ramallah.

On Saturday Suleiman Dawabsha, mayor of Duma near Nablus, told AFP the West Bank had been "in a real state of war since yesterday".

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