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Thousands Turn Out in Nablus for Funeral of Five Palestinians Killed in IDF Raid on Militia HQ

© Muhammad SmiryA large funeral procession in Nablus, West Bank, on October 25, 2022, for five Palestinians killed in an IDF raid on a Palestinian militia group headquarters.
A large funeral procession in Nablus, West Bank, on October 25, 2022, for five Palestinians killed in an IDF raid on a Palestinian militia group headquarters. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.10.2022
Much of the northern West Bank has been under lockdown for weeks as Israeli forces claim every car and person poses a potential threat to them amid increased attacks by Palestinian militia groups.
Tens of thousands of mourners attended a massive funeral procession on Tuesday in the West Bank city of Nablus following a raid by Israeli special forces that killed five people.
The sound of gunfire heard in the video is from mourners firing their guns into the air - a common scene at public events both somber and celebratory.
“There is a state of sadness in Nablus, a very difficult atmosphere,” Bakr Abdelhaq, a local journalist for Palestine TV, told Al Jazeera. “The fighters, even though they were young, were respected and had large popular regard.”
In addition to the Nablus procession, millions of Palestinians across the West Bank held a general strike on Wednesday, with most stores and schools being closed in the territory’s major settlements.
IDF soldiers  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.10.2022
IDF: Israeli Troops Eliminate Terrorist Cell in City of Nablus, West Bank

IDF Raids Nablus Group

Just after midnight on Tuesday, more than 100 Israeli Defense Force (IDF) armored vehicles entered Nablus, a city in the north-central West Bank, to carry out a raid against what they described as “a headquarters and explosives manufacturing site” for “the 'Lion's Den' terrorist group.”
"The 'Lion's Den' terrorist group is responsible for carrying out the attack that killed SSGT [staff sergeant] Ido Baruch, attempting to carry out a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv and the planting of an explosive device at a gas station in Kedumim. They also attempted to carry out a shooting attack in the community of Har Bracha ... as well as being in charge of multiple shooting attacks throughout the city of Nablus," the IDF said in a statement.
Hundreds of people turned out to resist the IDF presence, throwing rocks and other projectiles at the soldiers, who then fired back. At least 21 other Palestinians were wounded in the fighting, with four being in critical condition, including a Palestinian Authority officer who also fought the Israelis, Haaretz reported.
Three of the men killed - Hamdi Qayyem, Wadee al-Hawah, and Mish’al Baghdadi - were members of an underground Palestinian resistance group called The Lion’s Den. Residents and journalists told Al Jazeera that the other two men – Hamdi Sharaf and Ali Antar - were unarmed barbers who were on their way home from work when they were shot by IDF soldiers.
However, according to locals, it wasn’t the soldiers in the armored vehicles who killed the three militia members, but missiles fired by an IDF drone overhead. Conflicting reports by Israeli media claimed the drones were not armed.

Nonstop Blockade

The raid came after two weeks of constant blockade of Nablus, a city of 160,000 people, and surrounding areas, as Israeli authorities said they were pursuing Baruch’s killers. The soldier had been killed in a drive-by attack in the nearby town of Shavei Shomron while operating as security for a parade of Jewish settlers during the Sukkot holiday.

The blockades led to an increase in violent clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian locals, part of an already more violent year in which more than 130 Palestinians and five Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the United Nations. Another 51 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza this year by Israeli airstrikes.

The Tuesday raid was similar to another in Jenin in May, during which Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed. The IDF admitted last month that IDF soldiers had likely shot Akleh, but declined to punish any of the troops in question.
Documenting the great trouble the blockades have caused, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the move demonstrates “Israel’s willingness to completely ignore more than 200,000 people whose lives it has chosen to control, which entails responsibility for them. Paying lip service by saying the harm was predicted is also an admission of the regime’s brazen indifference to the residents’ need to make a living, access education, visit friends and go about their daily lives. Imposing the restrictions in full knowledge of the harm they would reflects Israeli decision- makers’ view that Palestinian subjects are lesser human beings. This is what apartheid looks like.”
Israel seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt during the Six-Day War in 1967, and rapidly moved to incorporate them into Israel through a Jewish settlement program. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and considered annexing parts of the West Bank along the Jordan River, although it was forced to abandon all settlements in Gaza in 2005 thanks to dogged Palestinian resistance. Israel’s control over the territories is not recognized by international law, and the United Nations and numerous human rights groups have called on Israel to grant the Palestinians under its rule equal rights to the Jewish population.
The Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, was created in 1994 as the first step toward the establishment of a future Palestinian state. However, the increased tempo of Jewish settlement in the territory, heavily sponsored by the Israeli government and sympathetic American groups, has created a complex web of Jewish and Arab populations through which it is necessary for the IDF to constantly patrol in an attempt to keep the peace. An estimated 645,000 Jewish settlers and 2.8 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.
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