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Israel arrests 2 settlers after deadly rampage on a village that left one Palestinian dead

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police said Saturday they arrested two Israeli settlers after they stormed a Palestinian village in the West Bank, killing one Palestinian.

Armed settlers entered Burqa, a herding village east of the city of Ramallah, late Friday and shot and killed 19-year-old Qusai Matan, Palestinian health officials said.

Israeli media reported that one of the arrested settlers, who remained unnamed, used to work as an aide to a legislator from the far-right Israeli “Jewish Power” party, which is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition of ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel. It also includes Itamar Ben-Gvir, a pro-settlement brand known for his hardline stance against Palestinians.

The party could not be reached for comment.

Police said they arrested two settlers after detaining five for questioning. The other settler who was arrested was hospitalized Friday night after sustaining injuries. Authorities did not comment on the allegations.

The army said Israeli settlers arrived in the area to herd sheep, leading to clashes between Israelis and Palestinians from the village. Both sides threw stones at each other, the army said, and Israelis fired at Palestinians, killing Matai and wounding four Palestinians and several Israelis from stones.

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The village was closed and more Israeli troops were stationed in the area.

Palestinian officials said the settlers also set fire to two cars in the village. They also called for the perpetrators to be punished.

Violence in the northern West Bank has increased with the rise of shootings by Palestinian groups against Israelis and daily arrest raids by the Israeli army, and increasing attacks by extremist Jewish settlers.

The wave of fighting is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in nearly two decades. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since early 2023, according to a count by The Associated Press.

Israel says most of the dead are militants, but also stone-throwing youths protesting army attacks and innocent bystanders have been killed.

At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis so far this year.

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Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those areas for their hoped-for independent state.

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