Israeli police have shot dead a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, in an incident described by the force as a stabbing and by a Palestinian official as a quarrel.
A member of the Huwara municipality, Wajeh Odeh, told AFP the shooting followed “a quarrel”.
“An Israeli soldier pushed the Palestinian to the floor and shot him from zero distance,” Odeh said.
The incident was captured on video and was widely circulated on social media. It showed an Israeli soldier holding the Palestinian man in a headlock by a road as two other men try to wrestle him away. The man then appears to strike the soldier and attempt to take hold of his rifle before the soldier pulls out a handgun and shoots him several times as he falls to the ground.
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Heavily-armed border guards were deployed along the street following the incident, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.
The Palestinian Red Crescent told AFP its medics “were prevented from dealing with a wounded person who was later declared dead”.
The Palestinian foreign ministry said it was tantamount to an execution meant to escalate already spiralling violence in the occupied territory.
For their part, Israeli police said its border guards were approached by several suspects in the Palestinian town of Huwara when one “pulled out a knife and stabbed one of them”.
The guards “responded by shooting one suspect and neutralising him”, police said in a statement, before confirming to AFP the Palestinian was killed.
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There are regular patrols by Israeli forces through the town of Huwara, which straddles the main road south of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
Israeli police said one of its officers suffered minor injuries.
‘Deeply concerned’ by the violence
The shooting marks the ninth Palestinian killed since Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, mostly in clashes with or raids by Israeli forces.
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In one incident, a man was shot dead after running over a soldier in an alleged car ramming.
The recent surge in violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has alarmed the international community.
In Washington, state department spokesman Ned Price reiterated that the United States was “deeply concerned” by the violence in the occupied West Bank, pointing in particular to the toll on children.
“We re-emphasise the need for all parties to do everything in their power to de-escalate the situation. It’s vital that the parties themselves take urgent actions to prevent even greater loss of life,” Price told reporters.
On Monday, the United Nations envoy for Middle East peace, Tor Wennesland, warned the situation in the West Bank was “reaching a boiling point”.
At least 145 Palestinians and 26 Israelis have been killed so far this year across the West Bank, Israel and Jerusalem.
Rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions have made 2022 the deadliest year since the end of the Second Intifada in 2005. Further escalation is likely, as the most right-wing and religious government in Israel’s history is poised to be installed in the coming days or weeks, with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returning to power.
Israel has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 Six-Day War.
The US representative for Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, on Wednesday said Washington is “deeply aware of the tragic loss of life” in the Palestinian territories.
Those killed in recent months include Israeli soldiers, Palestinian fighters and dozens of civilians.
Forty-nine Palestinians were killed in just three days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip last August.