A masked Palestinian protester looks on amid the smoke of burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces near Nablus.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Two Palestinian Authority security officers were killed Wednesday night in the West Bank city of Nablus after violent commotions broke out between security forces and armed civilians.
The mayhem began after a gunmen wanted by the Palestinian security forces stormed the house of a local security officer and started shooting the people who were there, wounding the officer's wife.
Many civilians began gathering outside the officer's house and violent clashes soon broke out. While PA security officers attempted to disperse the riots, a number of gunmen known to the Palestinian police opened fire on them, killing two of them.
According to Palestinian media, the clashes took place in the al-Dahiya area in Nablus, which is under Israeli military control.
The lethal incident occurred amid surging tensions between the Palestinian Authority security forces and Nablus residents, mainly small-business owners in the Shuhada Square, the city's major business sector.
PA security forces have recently demanded that street vendors in the square dismantle their stalls, in an alleged attempt to regulate the markets in Nablus. However, the street vendors regard this demand as a declaration of war against them, especially as it took place during the last days of Ramadan, when sales reach peak.
The incident created mass turbulence among both the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people.
The Governor of Nablus, Akram Rajoub, announced the formation of a special committee to investigate the circumstances of the deaths of the two officers, demanding all the parties involved exercise self-restraint.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Thursday, Hamas called on the parties to put an end to the bloodshed, adding that "weapons must be directed only against the Zionist enemy and the settlers who conquer our land."