2 Palestinian attacks, Israeli police say; 2 stabbers killed

AP News
Posted: Oct 30, 2015 2:21 PM
2 Palestinian attacks, Israeli police say; 2 stabbers killed

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian stabbed and wounded an American man at a station of Jerusalem's light rail on Friday before he was shot dead by police, security guards and civilians, police said. An Israeli man was wounded in the cross-fire.

In the West Bank, two Palestinians carrying knives ran toward an Israeli checkpoint, drawing fire from troops who killed one and critically wounded the other, according to police and a Palestinian medic.

Friday's incidents were the latest in a series of Palestinian attacks that began in mid-September and were accompanied by widespread unrest, including clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops.

There were no further details on the identity of the American.

In all, 11 Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, and 66 Palestinians died by Israeli fire in the past six weeks. Forty of the Palestinians killed were said by Israel to have been involved in attacks or attempted attacks. Nineteen Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire in West Bank clashes Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Israel has blamed Palestinian attacks on what it says is anti-Israel incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders. Palestinians say the violence is largely driven by the hopelessness many Palestinians feel after nearly half a century of Israeli military rule, with no end in sight.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Foreign Minister Riad Malki and senior Abbas aide Saeb Erekat met Friday with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the court's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, to hand over documentation on the recent violence, Erekat's office said.

Earlier, the Palestinians said they would submit 52 pages detailing what Erekat's office described as extra-judicial executions of Palestinians by Israeli troops, as well as home demolitions and other forms of collective punishment. The documents were to be accompanied by video footage of some of the incidents, the statement said.

Rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force in some of the cases, a charge Israel's military has denied.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli forces imposed new restrictions on Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled center of Hebron, residents said.

The military barred Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 25 from entering a major Hebron shrine that is revered by both Muslims and Jews, said senior Muslim cleric Munther Abu Felat. He said age restrictions were enforced only partially.

In recent days, Hebron has become a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence, with near-daily deadly confrontations at Israeli checkpoints that guard ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers in the center of the city. In these incidents, Palestinians have been shot dead after the military said they stabbed or tried to stab soldiers.

Hebron has been divided since the late 1990s, as part of what was meant to be an interim agreement ahead of a final peace deal that never materialized. Israel controls the city center, where 850 Jewish settlers live, while the remaining areas of the city are under Palestinian self-rule.

The most restricted area, near settler enclaves, is home to about 10,000 Palestinians, said Palestinian community organizer Issa Amro.

He said Palestinians were informed by troops at checkpoints on Friday that Palestinian non-residents would not be able to enter these areas, Amro said.

The Israeli military did not provide details.

In a statement, it only said that in light of recent stabbing attacks in the area, "several precautionary measures were taken to contain potential attacks in the future and maintain the well-being and safety of Israelis."

The Jerusalem stabbing took place at a station of the city's light rail — a frequent target of assailants in recent weeks. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said a Palestinian man stabbed a man, a U.S. citizen, waiting at the station, seriously injuring him.

As the assailant tried to stab another person, police, transport security guards and a civilian opened fire, seriously wounding him and hitting an Israeli civilian in the leg, she said. The Palestinian later died in hospital.

It's not the first time Americans have been hurt in recent Palestinian stabbing attacks. Richard Lakin, an American educator and peace activist who worked for coexistence in Israel, died this week from wounds sustained in a Palestinian attack on a Jerusalem bus earlier this month.

Earlier on Friday in the West Bank, two Palestinians drove up to a checkpoint on a motorcycle, dismounted and then charged an officer from the paramilitary border police, Samri said.

Another officer opened fire on the pair, killing one attacker and wounding the other, Samri said.

Palestinian medics identified the Palestinian killed by troops as 18-year-old Mahmoud Sabaaneh from a town in the northern West Bank. They said the wounded man was in critical condition.

Video footage emerged later Friday showing a Palestinian with a large rock in his right hand chasing a soldier during clashes near Ramallah. At that point, the jeep starts driving at him at high speed and hits him.

The footage showed soldiers pushing back and using a spray on Palestinian medics and trying to reach the Palestinian struck by the jeep. Israel's Channel 2 TV said it was pepper spray.

Earlier, Samri said border police in a jeep saw a Palestinian run toward an officer with a sharp object as the officer administered first aid to a Palestinian who was previously shot as he threw a firebomb.

She said the driver hit him with the jeep to prevent the attack.

Both Palestinians were moderately injured, she said.