Israel investigating death of West Bank paramedic

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According to PRCS, Mohammed Awad Allan served as a volunteer with the Qaryut Ambulance Committee
By Thomas Mackintosh
BBC News

The Israeli army has launched an investigation after a Palestinian volunteer paramedic was killed in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) said Mohammed Awad Allan, 50, was shot while treating people who had been injured by Israeli settlers.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said forces were sent to the village of As-Sawiya to break up clashes.

It confirmed an ambulance driver was killed, and that it was investigating.

The circumstances of the death are not clear.

In a statement on Sunday, the IDF said troops and Israel Border Police forces were sent following reports of a “violent confrontation of mutual rock hurling that occurred between Palestinians and Israeli civilians in the area of As-Sawiya”.

It added: “During the incident, an ambulance driver for the Palestine Red Crescent was killed. The Military Police have opened an investigation.”

The PRCS said Mr Allan tried to treat people injured “by gunshots fired by Israeli settlers”.

Some Hebrew-language media reports said Mr Allan was killed by firing from the Israeli armed forces – others reported he was shot by armed settlers.

According to PRCS, Mr Allan served as a volunteer with the Qaryut Ambulance Committee – an initiative to offer ambulance services to the area’s residents.

Separately, Palestinian officials said at least 14 people, including a boy and a gunman, were killed in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank refugee camp of Nur Shams on Saturday.

The Israeli military said security forces had killed 10 people it said were terrorists, and arrested eight others.

Palestinians inspect the damage to a street after a raid by Israeli forces in the Nur Shams camp for Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank on 21 April

West Bank violence has been on the rise for months.

Around 700,000 Israelis live in 160 settlements alongside 2.7 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now.

The international community regards the settlements as illegal, although Israel disputes this.

There are also about 160 so-called outposts, or small settlements, which have been built without official approval and are considered illegal under Israeli law.

Tensions were already high before 7 October, when Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel, sparking the war in Gaza. Since then, more than 460 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Those deaths includes armed fighters amid a rise in raids by the Israeli military on Palestinian towns and villages.

In the same period, at least 13 Israelis have been killed in the West Bank, including two members of Israel’s security forces.

Human rights groups say incidents of settler attacks, and alleged involvement of the security forces, are rarely fully investigated.

On 16 April, the UN human rights office called on Israeli security forces to end what it called their active participation in and support for attacks by settlers in the West Bank.

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