Israeli forces kill Palestinian during raid northwest of Ramallah
Published Tuesday 22/10/2013 (updated) 23/10/2013 11:25
Israeli forces search the cave where the man was shot. (MaanImages)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A young Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli troops in a cave between the villages of Bilin and Kafr Nima in northwest Ramallah on early Tuesday morning.
Large numbers of Israeli military vehicles had raided an agricultural area in the early morning and subsequently clashed with Muhammad Assi, a 24-year-old Islamic Jihad activist, who had barricaded himself in a cave amidst fields.
Assi was killed following a shoot-out with Israeli forces that lasted a few hours.
During the raid, Israeli bulldozers razed olive orchards belonging to Palestinians in the area, according to eyewitnesses from Kafr Nima. The soldiers also set fire to a number of agricultural fields.
The Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israeli special forces entered in Kafr Nima in order to arrest two Palestinians in the early hours of Tuesday morning. One of the suspects tried to flee and was apprehended following a short chase, according to the Israeli report, while the other barricaded himself in a cave and clashed with the Israeli soldiers.
"The soldiers encircled him for hours and he was eventually shot dead," the Israeli newspaper reported.
Locals in Kafr Nima confirmed that Israeli forces stormed the village and ransacked several homes before they detained three Palestinian men. The three detained Palestinian men were identified as Hamad Ibrahim Nasr, William Abu Aadi and Abdullah Suleiman Abu Aadi.
Young men from the village clashed with the invading Israeli forces, pelting them with rocks and empty bottles during the raid.
Israeli forces in return fired rubber-coated bullets at the protestors and showered the area with tear gas canisters and stun grenades.
An Israeli army statement released Tuesday morning said that the operation had "aimed to detain wanted terrorist Mohamed Aatzi," and that he was "reportedly killed in an exchange of fire."
The statement said that Assi was "one of the planners of the terror attack which took place last year on a bus in Tel Aviv during Operation Pillar of Defense," alluding to a bus bombing that occurred during Israel's bombardment on the Gaza Strip in Nov. 2012, which killed around 170 Palestinians.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.