MOHAMMED Faqih’s body came out of a Hebron house in an army bulldozer bucket on Tuesday night, after the Israeli Army killed him and injured five others in the village of Surif north of Hebron.
They bombarded and destroyed the house, claiming he was responsible for a drive-by shooting on July 1. Israeli soldiers fired several anti-tank missiles at the house and then a bulldozer from the Army’s engineering corps demolished the house.
It remained unclear by what means Israeli forces ultimately killed Faqih. Eyewitnesses then saw the body of Faqih in the bucket of an Israeli army bulldozer that pulled him out of the rubble. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that five Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated bullets during clashes in Surif.
A Palestinian woman sustained minor wounds during the military attack and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Locals said Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from Surif during the raid, identified as Ahmad Ibrahim al-Hur, Diyaa Khalid Ghneimat, and Muhammad Ali al-Heeh, the owner of the demolished house in which Faqih was hiding. Al-Heeh’s mother was also detained.
Later on Wednesday morning, a general strike was announced in Dura and its surrounding villages in southern Hebron in mourning for Faqih, with all shops and organisations closing. The Israeli Army issued a statement alleging that Faqih was the gunman who carried out a shooting attack on route 60 between the illegal Israeli settlements of Beit Hagai and Otniel south of Hebron, which killed Otniel resident Michael Marc, critically injured his wife Chava, with two of their children, Pdaya, 15, and Tehila, 14, sustaining moderate and light wounds, respectively.
Since the deadly shooting attack on July 1, which came hours after Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian woman in Hebron’s Old City for an alleged stabbing attempt at Israeli soldiers, and a day after a stabbing attack in the Hebron-area settlement of Kiryat Arba that left a 13-year-old Israeli girl dead, Israeli forces launched a widespread manhunt.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz initially reported the gunman was suspected to be from the village of Bani Naim, the same village from which both the slain Palestinian woman and the slain killer of the teenage girl originated.
The closures that were imposed across the district of Hebron have amounted to the most extensive lockdown on the occupied West Bank since 2014, disrupting the access of hundreds of thousands of residents to services and livelihoods, according to the UN.
Many villages in Hebron have been completely sealed over the past month, included Sair, Yatta, and Bani Naim and some 2,700 Palestinian residents of Bani Naim had their travel permits revoked. Scores of Palestinians have also been detained in overnight raids in Hebron, and dozens of others injured during clashes between locals and Israeli forces.