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A Palestinian protester hurls back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank village of Qusrah near Nablus, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, in what the Israeli army said was a response to an attack by Palestinians throwing rocks, which Palestinians denied.

The Israeli military said the shooter had opened fire in self defence as part of a group of settlers hiking near the village of Qusrah who had come under attack.

Local villagers identified the Palestinian who was killed as Mahmoud Odeh, a 48-year-old farmer. They denied that any clash had taken place before the shooting.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the incident as a "cowardly act and evidence to the world of the ugly crimes conducted by settlers against unarmed Palestinians", his office said in a statement.

The Israeli military said troops arrived at the scene after the shooting to disperse the clash. Israeli police said they were investigating the incident.

Footage posted on Palestinian social media showed Israeli troops near a cave where the settlers had sheltered.

The fatality was the first in Israeli-Palestinian violence in the West Bank for several months. A wave of Palestinian street violence that began two years ago has largely dissipated.

(Additional reporting by Mustafa abu-Ghaneyeh and Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Peter Graff)

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Reuters