A Palestinian man has been killed in Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank, the scene of confrontations between protesters and Israeli forces for weeks, Palestinian officials said.
Shadi Omar Lotfi Salim, 41, was shot dead late on Tuesday near the flashpoint Palestinian village of Beita, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Beita deputy mayor, Mussa Hamayel, told the AFP news agency that Israeli soldiers killed the man as entered the village on his return from work.
“He was killed in cold blood,” the deputy mayor said, adding that there had been no protests in the area on Tuesday night.
Local Palestinian news agency Maan quoted security sources saying Salim was killed in an ambush the Israeli army had set up for him at the village’s junction.
Salim was responsible for water engineering in the village municipality, and became the seventh Palestinian to be killed since protests began in Beita against the illegal settlement set up on the village’s lands last March.
The Israeli army issued a statement saying that while on routine duty soldiers “spotted a Palestinian suspect in the area”, south of Nablus.
“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 Israeli army said in a statement.
“When the suspect continued advancing, the commander of the troop fired towards the suspect. The incident will be investigated,” it said.
Protests in Beita against the Israeli army broke out after news of Salim’s killing, with the Red Crescent documenting 106 Palestinian injuries.