Settler opens fire on funeral procession 21Mar11 March 22, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  21 March 2011

Two Palestinians were shot Monday afternoon when a settler disembarked from his car on the Jerusalem-Hebron road and opened fire on a funeral procession heading to the Beit Ummar cemetery.

Medics said two were injured in the shooting, including 59-year-old Muhammad Ali Abu Safiyya who was in critical condition after being shot in the chest, and 32-year-old Bassam Zaq’aqiq, who was shot in his right thigh. Both were evacuated to hospital.

According to Palestinian Authority officials, Abu Safiyya is in critical critical condition at the Al-Ahli Hospital, while Zaq’aqiq is in the Alia Hospital in stable condition.

According to eyewitnesses, Palestinians from Beit Ummar and the area were walking in funeral procession, when settler arrived and opened fire at Abu Safiyeh and Za’aqiq.

An eyewitness told Ma’an that a settler stopped his car near the town and walked toward the local cemetery where mourners were escorting the body of a loved one for burial.

As he approached the cemetery, the witness said, the settler drew out a gun and began shooting indiscriminately at the mourners.

According to a report on the Israeli news site Ynet, the settler opened fire at the group “probably after [they were] hurling stones at a settler’s vehicle.”

Commenting on the shooting, Hebron Governor Kamil Hmeid said “The situation is dangerous and there are systematic attacks. Settlers have declared war and they want to disturb the peace in Hebron district after a period of unprecedented tranquility.”

The attack follows an early morning stabbing in the south Hebron hills that witnesses say was perpetrated by a settler from the Ma’on settlement outpost near Tuba.

PA officials said that Israel was held responsible for the continued settler violence targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.

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