Settlers Storm West Bank Town to Avenge Deadly Shooting

'It was terrifying, we just saw mobs of people in the streets, masked, armed'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 21, 2023 12:09 PM CDT
After Deadly Shooting, Israeli Settlers Torch Palestinian Homes
Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish a fire set by Jewish settlers in the West Bank town of Turmus Ayya, Wednesday, June 21, 2023.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed into a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, setting fire to dozens of cars and homes to avenge the deaths of four Israelis killed by a pair of Palestinian gunmen the previous day, residents said. Palestinians said one man was killed in the violence. The settler attack came as the Israeli military deployed additional forces across the occupied West Bank, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build 1,000 new settler homes in response to the deadly shooting, the AP reports. "Our answer to terror is to strike it hard and to build our country," Netanyahu said.

The moves threatened to further raise tensions after two days of deadly fighting in the West Bank that included a daylong Israeli military raid in a Palestinian militant stronghold and Tuesday's mass shooting. Palestinian residents and human rights groups have long complained about Israel's inability or refusal to halt settler violence. In Wednesday's rampage, residents in Turmus Ayya said some 400 settlers marched down the town's main road, setting fire to cars, homes and trees. Mayor Lafi Adeeb said some 30 houses and 60 cars were partly or totally burned.

"It was terrifying, we just saw mobs of people in the streets, masked, armed," said Mohammed Suleiman, a 56-year-old Palestinian-American who lives in Chicago and was visiting his hometown. Suleiman blamed the Israeli military, saying the soldiers turned their guns on the Palestinian residents instead of the vandals marching into the town with guns and firebombs, throwing fuel oil and setting alight everything in their path. The army was "literally clearing the way for them,” he said. The Israeli military said it sent forces into the town “to extinguish the fires, prevent clashes and to collect evidence."

story continues below

Tuesday's shooting in the settlement of Eli came a day after seven Palestinians were killed in a daylong battle against Israeli troops in the militant stronghold of Jenin. The worsening violence has created a test for Israel’s government and prompted calls for a widespread military operation in the West Bank.

(Read more West Bank stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.