Around 3,000 people gathered Sunday in the occupied West Bank for the funeral of a Palestinian who was shot dead the day before in clashes with Israeli civilians.
Hamdi Nassan, 38, died after being shot in the back near a Jewish settlement, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The Israeli army said clashes had erupted after a “physical confrontation” between residents of Mughayir village near Ramallah and a settler from nearby Adei Ad settlement.
The Israeli civilians opened fire, wounding several Palestinians and killing Nassan, it said.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not answer AFP’s questions regarding the identity of the civilians who had opened fire, or the circumstances surrounding the confrontation.
As they carried Nassan’s body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag and the yellow banner of the Fatah party of president Mahmud Abbas, mourners called for vengeance.
Mughayir, a village with around 4,000 residents, is surrounded by four Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.
“About eight settlers, dressed in white and armed with rifles, arrived from the north of the village,” said Ali Hassan, an eyewitness.
“We didn’t know what they wanted, we went to meet them and they started shooting.”
He said Nassan was helping the wounded when he was himself hit, and that Israeli soldiers saw the incident but did not immediately intervene.
Tzuriel Amiur, a spokesman for Adei Ad settlement, said a 19-year-old settler had been “attacked by a group of Palestinians who stabbed him and threw stones at him.”
In response, a group of settlers headed for Mughayir, the scene of several clashes in recent months.
According to Amiur, the group were then “ambushed” by as many as 200 Palestinians throwing rocks.
When the army arrived, “civilians and soldiers were afraid for their lives and opened fire,” he said.
Amin Abu Alya, head of the Mughayir village council, said Saturday that the settlers had opened fire before the army moved in.
“At the beginning, it was settlers shooting, then the army came and fired tear gas,” he told AFP by phone.
Asked who shot Nassan, he said it was settlers.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse