Violence broke out between Palestinian Authority security forces and armed factions in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday with gunfights erupting on city streets.
The fights began late Monday night when 53-year-old Firas Yaish was shot dead by Palestinian Authority security forces in clashes that continued into the morning with local militias. PA forces used gunfire, tear gas and other protest dispersal means in an attempt to stop the violent riots.
Firas Ya'ish, 53, shot dead during armed clashes between Palestinian security forces and gunmen in Nablus. The clashes erupted after the Palestinian security forces arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a Hamas commander wanted by Israel. pic.twitter.com/cJK4yykp2R— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) September 20, 2022
The clashes, involving hundreds of people, erupted after Palestinian security forces arrested Musab Shtayyeh, a Hamas commander wanted by Israel. Four others have sustained injuries, according to Palestinian media, with one of them being identified as Anas Abdel-Fattah.
Militant factions in Nablus called for a general strike, declaring that until security forces release Shtayyeh, they will not let them enter the city. According to reports, Radio Hayat, based in Nablus, was taken off the air to ensure the safety of the broadcasters, and An-Najah National University, as well as the Nablus municipality, will operate remotely on Tuesday.
استمرار المواجهات على دوار نابلس وأجهزة أمن السلطة تطلق النار وقنابل الغاز. pic.twitter.com/trQ2Ld69je— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) September 19, 2022
Why is this happening now?
This violence is taking place as the IDF is deep into Operation Break the Wave, conducting nightly arrest raids throughout the West Bank. Particular points of tension have been Nablus and Jenin, where Palestinian resistance factions, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah, are gaining street popularity, beating out the PA.
Shtayyeh's family condemned the arrest and sent condolences to Yaish's family.
Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas both condemned the arrest by the PA of Shtayyeh and another Hamas general in Nablus, and called for continued resistance by Palestinians, identifying the arrests as acts in service of the Israeli occupation. The movement did not address Yaish's death. The Progressive Student Action Front at An-Najah expressed similar sentiments.
Another place of tension is the northern West Bank town of Hawara, where the main road leading to the nearby Israeli settlements lies. Over the past few months, Palestinians have thrown stones and shot bullets at passing cars. On Monday, settlers clashed with local Palestinians along the road.
In Nablus, Palestinian Authority security forces arrested Musab Shtayyeh, who's wanted for carrying out attacks against Israel. pic.twitter.com/SyNwH5WhTF— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) September 19, 2022
תסיסה ברשות הפלסטינית בעקבות מעצר איש חמאס והמבוקש מוסעב אשתייה, על ידי מנגנוני הביטחון. ברחובות שכם צעירים שורפים צמיגים ויורים באוויר. דובר חמאס: המעצר הוא בבחינת מתן שירות חינם לישראל@kaisos1987 pic.twitter.com/pEG2pKyEv9— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) September 19, 2022
According to Palestinian reports, Yaish's brother, Amjad, was killed a number of years ago in clashes with Israeli forces.
This is a developing story.