Palestinian Authority arrest raid sparks deadly West Bank protests

2. Nablus
Palestinians pelt an armored vehicle of the Palestinian security forces during protests in Nablus in the occupied West Bank on September 20, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

NABLUS, Palestinian Territories — A rare operation by the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces to arrest a Hamas member sparked protests in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, killing one.  اضافة اعلان

A statement from the security forces confirmed the death of bystander Firas Yaish and said they were “waiting for a medical report”, on the circumstances of his killing.

He was killed “in a place where no security personnel were present”, forces spokesman Talal Dweikat said in a statement.

Unrest persisted through the morning, with hundreds of youths hurling rocks at PA armored vehicles and the sound of gunfire ringing out across the city center, AFP correspondents reported.

Ahmed, 26, a protester who declined to give his family name citing personal security concerns, told AFP the protesters’ anger was fueled by “security coordination between the PA and the occupation (Israel)”.

“Go away Abu Mazen,” he said, referring to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

“You are not the Palestinians but only one man — and a man who wants to fill his pocket with money,” he said.

Hamas, historic rivals of the Abbas’s Fatah movement that controls the PA, condemned the arrest of 30-year-old Musaab Shtayyeh, calling it a “kidnapping, ... a national crime,” and a “stain” on the PA’s image.

It demanded the immediate release of Shtayyeh and Ameed Tbaileh, who was arrested with him, and blasted the PA for keeping up security coordination with Israel.

“The (PA) has positioned itself as an exclusive agent of the occupation (Israel) in the face of our Palestinian people,” the statement said.

While Abbas’s forces maintain security ties with Israel, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967, PA raids targeting Hamas members are not common.

Fatah and Hamas have made various reconciliation attempts in recent years but relations remain tense.

Israeli violence

The northern West Bank has suffered violent and deadly raids by Israeli occupation forces on a near daily basis in recent months.

Last week, after two Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces near Jenin.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, a total of 149 Palestinians have been killed since the start of 2022, including 34 from Jenin, the Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported.

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