Palestinian With Iron Bar Killed by Israeli Forces

Palestinians protest in the village of Beta as it seen from the Israeli outpost of Eviatar, July 2. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

A Palestinian said to be carrying an iron bar man was killed by Israeli gunfire near Eviatar late Tuesday.

Shadi Omar Lotfi Salim, 41, was shot dead near the flashpoint Palestinian village of Beita, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Beita deputy mayor Mussa Hamayel said that IDF soldiers killed the man as entered the village on his return from work. “He was killed in cold blood,” the deputy mayor alleged, adding that there had been no protests in the area Tuesday night.

In a statement, the IDF said Omar began ‘‘advancing rapidly’’ towards Israeli troops carrying an iron bar, south of Shechem. They said the man continued to advance despite warning fire and was then shot.

“When the Palestinian began advancing rapidly towards the troop with a suspicious object identified as an iron bar in his hand, the troop operated to stop the suspect following the standard procedures, including by firing warning shots into the air,” the IDF said in a statement.

“When the suspect continued advancing, the commander of the troops fired towards the suspect. The incident will be investigated,” it said.

Beita has been the scene of frequent unrest since May, when dozens of Israeli families arrived and began building the outpost of Eviatar on a hilltop near Shechem. After weeks of clashes and tensions, the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett struck a deal with the residents that saw them leave the outpost.

The settlers left behind the rudimentary homes they built until the defense ministry determines whether the land can be considered state territory. The IDF is maintaining a presence in Eviatar until the decision is made.

The agreement was rejected by the mayor of Beita, who said last week that “clashes and protests will continue” as long as any Israeli “remains on our land.”

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