Israeli settlers storm West Bank village, setting cars and homes ablaze

Kareem Khadder, Zeena Saifi and Benjamin Brown, CNN

Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers stormed a village in the occupied West Bank on Friday, setting fire to several homes and cars in one of the largest attacks by settlers this year, according to Palestinian officials.

At least one Palestinian man was killed by gunfire in the village of Al-Mughayyir, east of Ramallah, according to the head of the village council Amin Abu-Alia, who is related to the deceased.

About 25 others were also injured in the rampage, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, the scale of which has not been seen since hundreds of settlers stormed through the villages of Turmusayya and Huwara in two separate incidents last year.

According to Abu-Alia, Israeli security forces had informed Palestinian officials that the settlers were looking for an Israeli teenager who had gone missing earlier in the day.

He estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 settlers surrounded the village, and around 500 stormed it just after midday local time on Friday, blocking all the roads in the area.

The settlers attacked the village, raided homes, and fired guns at residents, he said. Videos obtained by CNN show parts of the village burning, with smoke billowing over several buildings and settlers lobbing rocks. Houses and cars are seen completely burned up, with sounds of gunfire and clashes heard in the background.

Israeli settlers wearing headscarves are seen near billowing smoke.

Israeli settlers wearing headscarves are seen near billowing smoke. Reuters

According to Abu-Alia, the Israeli military arrived at the scene at around 3 p.m. local time, but did not stop the settlers from attacking the village. Instead, Israeli soldiers allowed them to raid homes, prevented Palestinian residents from moving around and blocked ambulances from reaching the injured, he alleged.

Abu-Alia told CNN settlers stole approximately 70 sheep from the Palestinian village.

Reached for comment by CNN, the Israel Defense Forces said “violent riots were instigated in multiple locations in the area” following a search for the missing boy, and that Israeli forces tried to remove the settlers.

“Security forces operated to disperse the violent riots. During the incident, rocks were hurled at IDF soldiers, who responded with fire. Hits were identified. Furthermore, IDF and Israel Border Police forces operated to withdraw Israeli civilians who entered the town of Al Mughayyir,” it added.

A statement from the Palestinian Red Crescent said 11 ambulances drove to the scene of Friday’s attack to pick up the wounded, reporting that several people were injured by bullet fragments.

Earlier on Friday, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said IDF forces had been working to search for the missing 14-year-old, who was last seen near an Israeli settlement and around 2 kilometers from Al-Mughayyir.

“IDF forces from the air and on the ground, including special forces, have been working since the early afternoon, along with the Israel Police and other forces, in the search for the 14-year-old boy who has been missing since this morning in the Malachei Ha’Shalom area in the Binyamin Brigade,” he said in a post on X.

(Source: CNN)