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Palestinian shot and severely injured after alleged stab attack, injuring 2 Israeli soldiers

July 18, 2016 1:35 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2016 12:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian was shot and severely injured on Monday after he allegedly carried out a stab attack, lightly wounding two Israeli soldiers outside of the al-Arrub refugee camp on Route 60, which is neighbored by the illegal settlement of Gush Etzion in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, after the two soldiers were injured, Israeli forces "responded to the threat" by shooting and detaining the attacker.

Israeli media reported that the attack was carried out with a screwdriver, adding that the suspect also allegedly had a knife in his posession, and that one of the wounded soldiers shot the suspect himself.

A spokesperson from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society told Ma'an their medics were the first to respond to the incident and treated the injured before Israeli ambulances reached the site, rejecting earlier reports that Israeli forces prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching the area.

“We were driving back from a mission in Jerusalem, and as we approached al-Arrub refugee camp we heard gunshots, so we pulled over and saw a civilian and two Israeli soldiers bleeding on the ground,” director of the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service Abd Rabbo al-Manasra told Ma’an. He added that he and other medics who were in the ambulance immediately treated the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian man.

“The Palestinian civilian was injured in the lower abdomen and was bleeding severely and we managed to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile, one of the soldiers was stabbed in the hand and was bleeding severely as well, and we managed to stop his bleeding. The other soldier suffered minor wounds in the neck.”

Al-Manasra added that after Palestinian medics offered first aid to the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian, Israeli police vehicles and an Israeli ambulance arrived and evacuated the three to Israeli hospitals.

The Palestinian suspect was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem according to Israeli media. A spokesperson from the hospital told Ma'an they were looking into his condition.

The two lightly wounded soldiers, said to be in their 20s, were evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem for further medical treatment.

Following the incident, Israeli forces deployed heavily into the refugee camp and closed the main road connecting Hebron to Jerusalem, locals added.

The Israeli army's Heruv regiment, of which the two soldiers were a part, is responsible for the area around al-Arrub, according to Israeli media.

The soldiers were reportedly patrolling the area at the entrance to the refugee camp to prevent Palestinians from throwing rocks at cars travelling along the highway.

Locals later identified the suspect as Mustafa Baradiya from the village of Surif in northern Hebron, though he had been living in Beit Fajjar in the district of Bethlehem working as a math teacher.

The Israeli army confirmed in a statement that Baradiya was from Hebron, and said that his brother was "executed" in a stabbing attack months ago in the same general area.

His brother, 50-year-old Ibrahim Baradiya, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at the entrance of al-Arrub refugee camp on April 14 after allegedly attempting to attack a soldier with an ax.

Prior to Ibrahim Baradiya's killing, there had been no Palestinian or Israeli fatalities recorded in the context of attacks or clashes for two consecutive weeks -- the longest period without deaths since the escalation of violence in October 2015, according to UN documentation.

Since April however, violence has surged yet again, with a series of deadly incidents occurring in the Hebron district in particular, with many of its villages being placed under blockade in the wake of two shooting attacks that occurred in Hebron, one on Route 60, as Israeli forces searched for the gunmen.

Earlier on Monday, a Palestinian driver was shot, injured, and detained on Route 60, after what witnesses said was a car accident with an Israeli vehicle.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since a wave of unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October.

The unrest has been marked by a surge of small-scale attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals -- predominantly on Israeli military targets -- which have left 32 Israelis dead, with the majority of suspected Palestinian attackers shot dead on site.

Israeli authorities meanwhile have launched a crackdown in response to the escalation, promoting a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians, which has been accused by rights groups, international leaders, and Palestinian officials of enacting a policy of "extrajudicial executions."

According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, “There have been many reports since October of a policy permitting shoot-to-kill in incidents in which Palestinians harmed, or attempted to harm, Israeli security personnel or civilians, even when there is no clear and immediate mortal danger or if the danger can be overcome without resorting to a lethal outcome,” B’Tselem wrote.
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