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Army raids home of alleged attacker

Feb. 10, 2010 3:18 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 12, 2010 10:45 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – Twenty-five Israeli military jeeps on Wednesday evening surrounded the Jenin-area home of a Palestinian police officer accused of killing an Israeli soldier near Nablus hours earlier.

The home of Muhammad Al-Khatib in the village of Ya'bad was placed under curfew as Israeli authorities questioned his relatives over allegations he attacked a soldier, the army said. Forces questioned Al-Khatib's mother and brothers, the family said.

The army also searched the home for "incriminating evidence," according to a military spokesman, after Al-Khatib allegedly stabbed a soldier through an open window of his military car while waiting at a traffic light near the Tappuh junction and the Za'tara checkpoint.

According to the military, the injured soldier lost consciousness as he fled the scene and his car overturned. A military statement said an off-duty officer ran over Al-Khatib with his vehicle following the attack and soldiers thereafter detained him.

PA officials could not immediately confirm that Al-Khatib was a police officer.

Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the caretaker government in Ramallah, condemned the attack.

"An incident such as this goes against Palestinian national interests as well as the Palestinian Authority's efforts and the obligations it has taken upon itself," he said in a statement, adding that Palestinians remained committed to nonviolent resistance.

Earlier, the army said "A Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli man in his vehicle at a traffic light at the Tappuah Junction. The terrorist took advantage of the fact that the man's window was open and stabbed [him]. The man continued driving until he lost consciousness."

It was later announced that the man was Non-Commissioned Officer Sergeant 1st Class Ihab Chattib, a Druze citizen of Israel. Chattib died in a Tel Aviv hospital of wounds he sustained in the crash that followed the stabbing, military sources said.
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