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Deadly violence after Israeli boy vanishes in West Bank

  • By Laurence Peter
  • BBC News

Image source, Anadolu/Getty Images

Legend, Cars set on fire as settlers stormed al-Mughayyir

Violence has erupted during Israeli searches for a missing teenager in the occupied West Bank, with one Palestinian killed and 25 others injured in clashes with Jewish settlers.

Israeli troops intervened after dozens of settlers stormed al-Mughayyir, a village near Ramallah, armed with guns and stones. The unrest then calmed down.

Benjamin Ahimeir, 14, missing, has not been found. Extensive research is underway.

Separately, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians from the West Bank.

One of them was confirmed by Hamas to be a local commander of the group. The Israeli military says Mohammed Daraghmeh was killed in a shootout with its troops.

Violence has intensified in the West Bank since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on October 7, sparked by the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel that killed some 1,200 people, reportedly most civilians.

Israel is on alert after US officials said an Iranian strike against Israel could be imminent. Iran has vowed to retaliate for last week’s deadly airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria, in which several senior Iranian military officials were killed.

Israel has not commented, but is widely believed to have carried out the attack targeting Iran’s elite Quds Force.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said at least eight of those injured in the violence in al-Mughayyir were hit by live fire.

It is not yet clear whether the deceased man, Jehad Abu Alia, 26, was shot by an armed settler or an Israeli soldier.

The army says its forces managed to disperse the settlers who had entered the village. Troops have set up roadblocks in the area as security forces continue to search for the young Israeli, who left a settler outpost, Malachi Hashalom, early Friday.

His sister Hannah, quoted by the AFP news agency, said he knew the area well, where he had often herded sheep.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 460 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since October 7.

Israeli sources say at least 13 Israelis were killed there by Palestinians during the same period.

Rising violence in the West Bank has prompted the United States, Britain and France for the first time to impose sanctions on some settlers.

But the death toll is dwarfed by the war in Gaza: more than 33,600 Gazans, mostly civilians, were killed during the Israeli campaign, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

On October 7, armed men also took more than 250 people hostage. Israel says that of 130 hostages still in Gaza, at least 34 are dead.

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