Settler opens fire on funeral procession
HEBRON — Two Palestinians were shot Monday afternoon when a settler disembarked from his car on the Jerusalem-Hebron road and opened fire on a funeral procession heading to the Beit Ummar cemetery.
Medics said two were injured in the shooting, including 59-year-old Muhammad Ali Abu Safiyya who was in critical condition after being shot in the chest, and 32-year-old Bassam Zaq’aqiq, who was shot in his right thigh. Both were evacuated to hospital.
According to Palestinian Authority officials, Abu Safiyya is in critical condition at the Al-Ahli Hospital, while Zaq’aqiq is in the Alia Hospital in stable condition.
According to eyewitnesses, Palestinians from Beit Ummar and the area were walking in a funeral procession, when a settler arrived and opened fire at Abu Safiyeh and Za’aqiq.
An eyewitness told Ma’an that a settler stopped his car near the town and walked toward the local cemetery where mourners were escorting the body of a loved one for burial.
As he approached the cemetery, the witness said, the settler drew out a gun and began shooting indiscriminately at the mourners.
According to a report on the Israeli news site Ynet, the settler opened fire at the group “probably after [they were] hurling stones at a settler’s vehicle.”
Commenting on the shooting, Hebron Governor Kamil Hmeid said “The situation is dangerous and there are systematic attacks. Settlers have declared war and they want to disturb the peace in Hebron district after a period of unprecedented tranquility.”
The attack follows an early morning stabbing in the south Hebron hills that witnesses say was perpetrated by a settler from the Ma’on settlement outpost near Tuba.
PA officials said that Israel is held responsible for the continued settler violence targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.
… Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers, who were in that area and who had a military watch tower, didn’t pay attention to what the settler had done although they had cameras inside their tower pointing at the main road and the cemetery.
The eyewitnesses added that the soldiers didn’t chase the settler who ran away and drove towards Jerusalem.
Instead of trying to apprehend the settler, the soldiers apprehended local residents and interrogated.