Israeli police investigating Palestinian woman's death in car

NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli police said on Saturday they were investigating the death of a Palestinian woman in the occupied West Bank, after her husband said he suspected Israeli settlers had pelted their car with rocks.

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian woman Aisha al-Rawbi during her funeral in the town of Biddya near Nablus in the occupied West Bank October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini

Reuters was unable to verify the circumstances of the incident independently. However, footage of the car, which a Reuters cameraman said bore Palestinian license plates, showed what appeared to be a blood-stained broken brick at the foot of the passenger seat, which was covered in shattered glass.

A doctor at the Palestinian hospital where Aisha al-Rawbi was brought said the 47-year-old was dead on arrival and that she had suffered a head injury. Her relatives said an autopsy was to be carried out.

The woman’s husband, Aykube al-Rawbi, 52, said he was driving by a settlement late on Friday after dark along a main road near the Palestinian city of Nablus and that he could not see who pelted the car.

“The stones came from the side where the settlement is. I could hear the people speak Hebrew, but I didn’t see them,” said al-Rawbi.

Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said: “Police arrived in the area and have opened an investigation.” An Israeli court issued a gag order on details of the inquiry.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that it was “an ugly crime” perpetrated by settlers.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

On Sunday, a Palestinian gunman shot dead two Israelis and wounded a third near a West Bank settlement and on Thursday the Israeli military said a Palestinian had stabbed an Israeli soldier in the area.

On Friday, Gaza health officials said Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in protests along Gaza’s border. Israel said its troops had shot a group who broke through the fence with a bomb and attacked an army post.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday all fuel deliveries to Gaza will stop and resume only when border violence ends. Israel allowed two trucks of fuel across its border into Gaza on Tuesday in a Qatari- and U.N.-backed effort to ease conditions in the enclave.

Around 200 Palestinians have been killed since the border protests began on March 30, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures.

One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Gaza sniper during the protests, and tracts of Israeli land have been scorched by incendiary kites and balloons sent across the border.

The protesters are demanding an end to an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the enclave, which is home to around 2 million people. They also seek the right to return to lands that Palestinians fled or were driven from upon Israel’s founding in 1948.

Israel says the blockade is aimed at preventing weapons from reaching militants, including Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza and which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014 and a bid by U.S. President Donald Trump to restart them has shown little progress so far.

The Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem -- territories that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Settlements Israel has built in the West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule, are deemed illegal by most countries. Israel disputes this.

Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Catherine Evans and David Stamp