Israeli soldiers walk toward a cloud of tear gas during clashes with Palestinian stone-throwers near the West Bank city of Hebron, on April 3, 2013
Israeli soldiers walk toward a cloud of tear gas during clashes with Palestinian stone-throwers near the West Bank city of Hebron, on April 3, 2013 © Marco Longari - AFP
Israeli soldiers walk toward a cloud of tear gas during clashes with Palestinian stone-throwers near the West Bank city of Hebron, on April 3, 2013
AFP
Last updated: February 27, 2014

Palestinian killed in Israel West Bank raid

A Palestinian died during an Israeli army raid on his home in the West Bank town of Birzeit Thursday, the military and a Palestinian security source said.

The death came as Amnesty International criticised Israel's killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank over the past three years.

"After the army left the house and the town, the body of Motazz Washaha was found," the Palestinian source said.

The army confirmed the death of a "Palestinian suspected of terror activity."

"After the suspect was called to turn himself in, he barricaded himself inside his house," it said.

Soldiers responded with "live fire" and recovered an assault rifle, it added.

Neighbours said the dead man was a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The army entered Birzeit, north of the West Bank administrative centre of Ramallah, Thursday morning and used "riot dispersal means" to clear stone-throwing Palestinians from their path to the house.

The Palestinian government slammed what it said was a "new escalation" by Israel, adding that the army had "deliberately" killed the man.

"The forces of the occupation surrounded Washaha's house, evacuated its other inhabitants and then fired several rockets at it, destroying parts of it whilst firing (with guns)," a statement said.

An Amnesty report released earlier Thursday accused Israel of "war crimes and other serious violations of international law" against Palestinians.

Israel retorted that the London-based watchdog had not taken into account the increasing number of attacks on its forces over the past year and had not sought comment before the eve of publication.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said in December that Israeli forces had killed 27 Palestinians in the West Bank in 2013, three times the number the previous year.

Amnesty called on Israel to "open independent, impartial, transparent and prompt investigations into all reports of Palestinian civilians killed or seriously injured by the actions of Israeli forces."

Since occupying Gaza and the West Bank, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem, in 1967, "Israeli authorities have signally failed to carry out independent investigations that meet international standards into alleged crimes," Amnesty said.

It urged the international community, particularly the European Union and the United States, to "suspend all transfers of munitions, weapons and other equipment to Israel" to pressure it to change.

The Israeli military said Amnesty failed to take into account "the substantial increase in Palestinian violence initiated over the past year," which "saw a sharp increase in rock-hurling incidents, gravely jeopardising the lives of civilians and military personnel."

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Amnesty published its report "without even bothering to ask for response and comment," until the eve of publication.

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