Palestinians who attacked German tourists in Nablus had feared they were Israeli forces, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority security services said Sunday, stressing they have “zero hostility” towards Germany.
The two tourists drove on Saturday through central Nablus, a city in the north of the occupied West Bank, when they came under attack.
“A group of young men… hurled stones at a civilian car with Israeli license plates,” a local Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity.
Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, said on Twitter: “A mob attacking tourists because they don’t like their license plate is disgusting and cowardly.”
Talal Dweikat, spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, told AFP that “we clearly have zero hostility towards a country whose citizens visit our cities”.
According to Dweikat, those involved were “wary” of a “foreign” car, fearing it may have been used by undercover Israeli forces, who often operate in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967.
The spokesman said the tourists had been rescued by a Palestinian police officer who helped them exit the city center, while Seibert thanked “the Palestinian Israeli citizen who saved them”.
The incident comes amid a surge in violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, coinciding with the tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government that took office in Israel in December.
The northern West Bank, and particularly the cities of Nablus and Jenin, have seen repeated deadly Israeli raids targeting Palestinian militants.
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