Israeli police said forces shot dead a knife-wielding Palestinian Saturday after he came running toward a crossing between the northern West Bank and Israel and tried to stab guards at the site. The incident comes as Israeli troops are increasingly being accused of using excessive force to quell a wave of Palestinian violence.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said no Israelis were harmed in the attempted attack at the Gilboa crossing, 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.
In all, 11 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, and 67 Palestinians died by Israeli fire over the past six weeks. Forty-one of the Palestinians killed were said by Israel to have been involved in attacks or attempted attacks.
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.
Saturday’s shooting followed a tense day on Friday in which two suspected Palestinian stabbers were shot dead and 19 others were wounded by Israeli fire in West Bank clashes, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The Foreign Press Association said Israeli border police officers assaulted several journalists covering some of the clashes near Ramallah. It said cameramen, a TV reporter and a photographer were hit, kicked and had pepper gas sprayed in their faces. In some cases, it said journalists’ gas masks were wrenched off their faces so that pepper gas could be sprayed into their eyes.
Rights groups have recently accused Israeli troops of using excessive force, a charge Israel’s military has denied.
Amnesty International said four recent shootings it investigated “appear to have been extra-judicial executions.” The Israeli military has angrily rejected the accusations, saying that “outrageous, unsubstantiated and anonymous claims have become a knee-jerk Palestinian response in a reality where Israelis have been stabbed, slashed, shot, butchered and run over in recent weeks.”
On Friday, the Palestinians met 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.
On Saturday, pro-Palestinian activists circulated a video that appeared to show an Israeli border police officer shooting a wounded Palestinian on the ground in Hebron. The soldier has his weapon aimed at the Palestinian who looks to be writhing in pain. When he rolls over in the direction of the officer, he opens fire and kills him.
Samri said the Palestinian in question had moments earlier stabbed a soldier in the head and was trying to escape with a knife still in his hand. She said the officer repeatedly demanded the suspect not move since he feared he was carrying an explosive or another weapon. When the Palestinian made a move in his direction, the officer opened fire “to neutralize the danger.” She said an investigation concluded that the officer operated as expected in such a scenario.
SOURCE: The Associated Press