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Palestinian teen killed after stabbing Israeli girl to death in Hebron-area settlement

June 30, 2016 9:41 A.M. (Updated: July 1, 2016 9:39 A.M.)
The scene of a stabbing attack which killed an Israeli teenage girl in a Hebron-area settlement on June 30, 2016. (Credit: Israeli army)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian teenager was killed on Thursday morning in an Israeli settlement in the southern occupied West Bank after carrying out an attack against a 13-year-old Israeli girl who later succumbed to her wounds, as one other Israeli was wounded in the case.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a “terrorist infiltrated” the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of the city of Hebron, where he attacked an Israeli teenage girl, who was later identified by the Israeli Prime Minister's office as 13-year-old Hallel Yafa Ariel, in her bedroom.

The spokesperson said that the Palestinian was then shot and killed, and that "two civilians" had been wounded and evacuated to the hospital. She added that the Israeli army was looking into the case.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health later identified the killed Palestinian as 17-year-old Muhammad Nasser Tarayra, from the village of Bani Naim.

Shaare Zedek hospital spokeswoman Shoham Ruvio told Ma'an that an Israeli teenage girl died in the hospital after being admitted in a "very severe and dangerous condition" and resuscitation efforts failed. She added that that the girl had suffered from serious stab wounds.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem told Ma'an that a 31-year-old Israeli man was brought to the trauma unit following the attack. She said the man was conscious and stable, and she described his condition as moderate to severe after sustaining gunshot wounds.

It remained unclear whether the Israeli man -- who Israeli media said was a security guard -- was wounded by shots fired by the alleged Palestinian attacker or Israeli forces. The Israeli army said in a statement that a "member of security personnel" was stabbed, without mentioning shooting wounds.

A statement issued by the Israeli Prime Minister's office on Thursday afternoon announced that the decision had been made to "cordon off" Tarayra's hometown Bani Naim, and that work permits of Tarayra's family members would be revoked. The statement added that procedures to demolish Tarayra's family's home were already under way.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking into whether Bani Naim had already been sealed off by Israeli forces.

Israel’s punitive policies against Palestinian communities in the wake of attacks have been repeatedly condemned by human rights groups, who point out that such punitive measures constitute “collective punishment” and “court-sanctioned revenge” in clear violation of international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the killing of Hallel.

“I expect the Palestinian leadership to clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“The entire world needs to condemn this murder just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels,” he added, referring to recent attacks in the United States and Belgium in which 49 and 35 people were killed respectively.

“Enlightened nations must join in this demand. They must pressure the one who heads the network of incitement that leads to the murder of children in their beds and not the State of Israel, which is working to protect its children and its citizens," Netanyahu added, likely in a thinly veiled reference to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In recent months, Israel has accused Palestinian leadership of “inciting terror” and detained scores of Palestinians over Facebook posts that Israeli authorities alleged were responsible for an increase in alleged attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli military targets and settlers.

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis and 31 Israelis killed by Palestinians since the a wave of unrest first swept across the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel in October.

Rights groups have denounced what they have termed a "shoot-to-kill" policy by the Israeli forces, which they say has led to the death of numerous Palestinians who did not constitute a threat or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.

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