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  • "Israel, as the occupying power, is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian population," the U.N. said. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 January 2019

Israeli settlers opened fire against Palestinian farmers as security personnel looked on.

The “protracted and extremely violent attack” against Palestinian al-Mugheir villagers along the occupied West Bank is a cause for serious concern, the United Nations said Tuesday.

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On Saturday a group of 30 Israeli settlers opened fire against Palestinian farmers working the fields near the illegal outpost of Adei Ad. Of the six villagers injured, three were considered seriously wounded and on Tuesday 38-year-old father, Hamdi Nassan, succumbed to his wounds, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reported.

Despite efforts to notify Israeli security forces stationed nearby, it took two hours for officers to intervene, witnesses said.

"When Israeli security forces did finally intervene, the main focus of their action appears to have been to disperse the Palestinian villagers using teargas," Colville said in a statement, adding that three more were injured from the police intervention.

"Israel, as the occupying power, is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian population from such attacks. Those responsible for settler violence must be brought to account," Colville said.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, a human rights activist with Hebron’s  Working for Peace and Justice organization, Issa Amro, said the continuous slew of attacks are being conducted in impunity and are likely lead to a massacre of Palestinians.

"They feel supported by the right-wing government and supported and protected by [US President Donald] Trump" Amro said.

The rate of violent attacks in the region have risen by 57 percent in 2018 compared to the year before and by 175 percent compared to 2016, the United Nations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports.

Only three percent of complaints filed by Palestinians since 2005 have been investigated and resulted in a conviction, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said.

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