Middle East

Palestinian shot dead in West Bank by Israeli soldiers

The Jewish settlements of Barkan (left), Kiryat Netafim (centre) and the Palestinian village of Khirbet Bani Hassan (top left)
Image caption The man was shot in Barkan (left), close to the Palestinian village of Khirbet Bani Hassan (top left)

A Palestinian man has been shot dead by Israeli troops after entering a settlement in the West Bank, the Israeli army said.

The man was killed on Thursday morning in Barkan, west of Nablus.

The military said they suspected one of the men was armed, but in later reports Palestinian officials said he was not.

After warning the men, the troops opened fire, killing one man while the other fled, said the spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

'Joint investigation'

The spokesman said: "A night watch that was set by the IDF because of numerous attempts made to infiltrate the [Barkan] community in the past few weeks identified last night's attempt.

"The force identified the infiltrators, one of them suspected to be armed and opened fire. One of the infiltrators died as a result, and the other escaped."

The spokesman added that Palestinian officials had agreed to carry out a "joint investigation" into the incident.

Later on Thursday, the Palestinian Authority named the man as Bilal Abu Libdeh from the West Bank city of Qalqilya.

There was no evidence that he had been carrying a weapon at the time he was shot, said PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib.

"Regardless of the reason for them going there, they shouldn't be killed," the Associated Press quoted him as saying.

He also called on the Israeli soldiers to be held responsible for the "illegal and unjustified killings".

Meanwhile, the human rights group Amnesty International has called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes and other buildings in the West Bank.

It says the Israeli army has destroyed 74 Palestinian-owned buildings in the Jordan Valley area this week, displacing more than a hundred people, half of whom are children.

Israeli officials said the buildings were in a closed military zone. But Palestinians say Israel has no right to close off parts of the West Bank in this way.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967, settling close to 500,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements. There are about 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites