WEST BANK — A Palestinian man was killed in the occupied West Bank on Thursday when an Israeli settler opened fire as protesters crowded around his car and pelted it with rocks, according to multiple accounts.
A Reuters photographer and other witnesses said hundreds of Palestinians had gathered near the city of Nablus to show support for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. During their demonstration, they blocked a main road used by both Palestinians and Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military said the Palestinians began throwing rocks at passing vehicles, including one belonging to a settler.
Video footage showed a gray four-door car being forced to a halt in the middle of the road, next to an ambulance, and being bombarded with rocks. The driver can be seen inside, drawing a handgun and firing at least three shots toward the sides of the road, although the target is not clear.
Yossi Dagan, head of the settlers’ Samaria regional council, said he had spoken with the settler, who told him he had been in fear of his life when he fired. “He pulled his gun out to defend himself, in order to stop them from lynching him. He fired.
Majdi Mohammed, a Palestinian photographer for the Associated Press who was wounded by the gunshots, described what he saw.
“When the army arrived, he (the settler) started shooting. I had my back turned to him. I put my hand on my head. The one next to me was hit by a bullet in his head, and people said he was killed,” he told reporters.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said the dead man was a 23-year-old Palestinian.
There have been several clashes in recent days between settlers and Palestinians.