(AhlulBayt News Agency) - One Palestinian was killed and another was injured after an Israeli settler stepped out of his car and opened live ammunition on a group of Palestinian protesters near the village of Huwwara in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Thursday afternoon.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Muataz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, from the Nablus-area village of Beita succumbed to his wounds shortly after he was shot during clashes that broke out after a march that was being held in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.
The march was being held on the main street near Huwaara, which is shared by local Palestinians and Israeli settlers, residing in the West Bank illegally according to international law.
Witnesses said that an Israeli settler opened live ammunition on the crowd of Palestinian protesters, shooting Shamsa in the head and killing him.
Palestinian journalist Majdi Eshtayya, who Israeli news daily Haaretz reported was an AP photographer, was also injured with live ammunition shot by the settler and was transferred to Rafidiya Hospital where medical sources described his injuries as moderate.
Head of the ambulance and emergency department of the Palestinian Red Crescent Ahmad Jibreel confirmed that an Israeli settler stepped out of his vehicle and opened fire at Palestinians "in a random manner," noting that the settler had opened live ammunition on the protesters at the same time that clashes were ongoing with Israeli forces, who were shooting tear gas canisters at the demonstrators.
Jibreel added that the settler had hit a Red Crescent ambulance with his car following the shooting, as the ambulance was on its way to the loation where Shamsa was shot. The settler hit three Palestinians during the vehicular incident, Jibreel said, adding that the three had sustained minor injuries from the settler's car.
Israeli authorities also implemented a closure on the Huwwara military checkpoint, located on the same road, according to witnesses.
Shamsa was the 23rd Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the start of 2017.
On Wednesday, an Israeli settler opened fire on a group of Palestinian activists in Ramallah who had closed off a section of a highway to voice their support for the ongoing mass hunger strike, which entered its 32ns day on Thursday. 19-year-old Ibrahim Rasem Hamed was injured during the shooting, and sustained moderate wounds, according to Haaretz.
Following Thursday's deadly shooting at Huwwara, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov released a statement, saying he condemned the attack, and that “this deplorable incident must be promptly and thoroughly investigated and all suspected of being involved must be prosecuted.”
Despite Mladenov's call for a swift investigation into the shooting, Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.
In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016.