An Israeli settler shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian on Monday near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The settler told police that he opened fire on a group of dozens of masked Palestinian youths who threw rocks at him, fearing that he would be lynched, police reported. An initial army investigation into the shooting indicated that the settler's actions were warranted. The Israeli resident of the West Bank settlement of Neria told police that he was walking from his house to the seminary he studies in when he was suddenly attacked by a group of 40-50 masked Palestinians throwing rocks and stones, police said. The settler, who felt he was in a "life-threatening situation," told police that he first opened fire with his personal weapon in the air, and only then shot toward the Palestinians' legs, Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The Israeli, who was interrogated by police throughout the afternoon, later returned to the site accompanied by police as part of the police investigation. Late Monday he was released by police on condition. The Palestinians refused a police request to carry out an autopsy on the body to determine the cause of death, police said. Palestinians have been holding a series of violent protests throughout the West Bank against the fighting in Gaza.