A Palestinian armed with a knife attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday and was shot and killed, the Israeli army said. The incident occurred at the entrance to Bani Na’im, a village to the west of Hebron that has been tightly secured by Israeli forces in recent months because of earlier attacks by Palestinians from the area.
The army said the assailant approached a checkpoint with a knife and attempted to stab a soldier. “Responding to the immediate threat, forces fired at the assailant, resulting in his death,” it said in a statement.
The Palestinian health ministry confirmed a Palestinian had been killed but had no immediate details of his name or age.
There has been a surge in stabbings and related attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli security forces in recent days, ahead of the Jewish new year holiday and the anniversary of a wave of violence that began last October.
On Monday, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian assailants in the West Bank and two Israeli police officers were stabbed near the Old City of Jerusalem. Tuesday’s death raises to seven the number of alleged attackers – six Palestinians and a Jordanian – killed since Friday in incidents in which Israeli authorities said at least nine Israelis have been wounded.
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Since October 2015, at least 218 Palestinians have died in violent incidents in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Of those, 147 were identified by authorities as assailants while others were killed during clashes and protests.
Palestinians, many of them acting alone and with rudimentary weapons, have killed at least 33 Israelis and two visiting Americans in the attacks.
Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive force and say that some of those killed posed no threat or had no intention of attacking anyone. In some cases, Israel has opened investigations into whether excessive force was used.
Palestinian leaders say assailants are acting out of desperation over the collapse of peace talks in 2014 and Israeli settlement expansion on occupied land that Palestinians seek for an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel says anti-Israeli incitement by Palestinian officials and on social media networks have stoked attacks.