Israel arrests settlers after rampage on Palestinian village leaves 1 dead

Settlers stormed a Palestinian village near Ramallah late Friday, shooting and killing 19-year-old Qusai Matan, according to Palestinian health officials.

Mourners cry during a funeral for Qusai Matan in the West Bank village of Burqa, on Saturday. Nasser Nasser / AP
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Israeli police said Saturday that they arrested two Israeli settlers after they stormed a Palestinian village in the West Bank in a rampage that left one Palestinian dead.

Armed settlers entered Burqa, a herding village east of the city of Ramallah, late Friday, shooting and killing 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 for a lawmaker of the far-right Israeli “Jewish Power” party which is in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition of ultranationalist and ultraorthodox parties in the Israeli parliament.

It includes Itamar Ben-Gvir, a pro-settlement firebrand known for hardline positions against Palestinians.

The party couldn’t be reached for comment.

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

The army said that Israeli settlers arrived in the area to herd sheep, leading to clashes between Israelis and Palestinians from the village. Both sides hurled rocks at each other, the army said, and Israelis fired at Palestinians, leaving Matai dead and four Palestinians and several Israelis injured by rocks.

he village was closed down and more Israeli troops were stationed in the area surrounding it.

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

Violence has spiraled in the northern West Bank with the rise of shooting attacks by Palestinian groups against Israelis and daily arrest raids by the Israeli military, and growing attacks by extremist Jewish settlers.

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

Israel says most killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting army raids and innocent bystanders have also been killed.

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

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.