Jerusalem (Israel) – A Palestinian man died after being shot dead by Israeli soldiers while trying to break through a security fence near a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, hours after Israeli authorities arrested two Palestinians. who killed three people in an attack last week.
The Israeli military said “soldiers noticed a suspect who was illegally trying to cross the security fence and shot him”. He said the man had been evacuated for medical treatment, but the authorities declined to comment on the man’s condition. The Palestinian Health Ministry later confirmed the man’s death.
In another incident, a Palestinian is said to have stabbed an Israeli policeman outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Police said the man with the knife who stabbed the officer and other officers at the scene near the Damascus Gate shot at the assailant.
Sunday’s incidents were the latest in string of violent episodes in recent weeks, including deadly attacks inside Israel, an Israeli military crackdown in the West Bank, and clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at a major holy site in Jerusalem sacred to Jews and Muslims.
Earlier on Sunday Israeli Police stated that the forces captured two Palestinians who killed three people in a stabbing attack last week and fled the scene, sparking a massive manhunt and keeping the country on edge.
The two attackers went on a stabbing rampage in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad on Thursday; Israel’s Independence Day, killing three and wounding at least four others before bolting. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told his Cabinet that forces captured “terrorists awash with incitement who killed with axes and unimaginable cruelty.”
He said Israel was entering a “new stage in the war on terror,” and said Israel was establishing a civilian national guard that would be deployed in emergency situations like the kinds of attacks the country has witnessed in recent weeks. “The Israeli government’s main goal is to restore personal security to Israeli citizens,” he said.
A joint statement by police, the military and the Shin Bet internal security agency said the men, identified as 19- and 20-year-old Palestinians, were caught near a quarry not far from Elad following a search that began Thursday by special forces and commando units using helicopters and other means.
Police said the attackers were from near the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, which has re-emerged as a militant bastion in the latest wave of violence — the worst Israel has seen in years. Several of the attackers in the recent violence have come from Jenin.
The Israeli military said it began preparations to demolish the homes of the two suspects in the village of Rummanah. Israel says the policy of demolishing homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis serves to deter would-be attackers, while rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment.
At least 18 Israelis have been killed in five attacks since March, including another stabbing rampage in southern Israel, two shootings in the Tel Aviv area, and a shooting last weekend in a West Bank settlement.
Nearly 30 Palestinians have died in violence — most of whom had carried out attacks or were involved in confrontations with Israeli forces in the West Bank. But an unarmed woman and two apparent bystanders were also among those killed and rights groups say Israel often uses excessive force.
The violence has been fueled by tensions at a Jerusalem hilltop compound holy to both Muslims and Jews, where Palestinians have clashed recently with Israeli police.