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Palestinian killed after vehicular attack at military checkpoint

Dec. 26, 2015 4:45 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 27, 2015 2:29 P.M.)
Israeli soldiers inspect a Palestinian car at a checkpoint close to the West Bank village of Beit Furik, east of Nablus, on Oct. 2, 2015 (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh, File)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers opened fire on and killed a Palestinian at a military checkpoint near Nablus after he rammed his vehicle into forces on site, locals and Israel's army said

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian approached the Huwwara military checkpoint and “rammed his car into security forces manning the position,” injuring one soldier.

Locals in the area at the time said that the driver -- identified as Maher al-Jabi, 56 -- had sped past several vehicles at the checkpoint before forces opened fire.

Al-Jabi was critically injured and evacuated by Palestinian medics to the Rafidiya hospital in Nablus where he died shortly after from gunshot wounds to the jaw and neck.

The soldier injured in the car-ramming was 20 years of age and sustained light wounds before being taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, according to Israeli media.

Israeli military reinforcements were deployed at the checkpoint and closed the road in both directions following the car-ramming.

Last week, the forces shot and killed a 15-year-old from the Nablus-area village of Beit Furik after he reportedly drew a knife on soldiers at the Huwwara checkpoint.

Weeks before, two 16-year-old Palestinians were shot dead at the checkpoint, one of whom was run over and shot by prominent Israeli settler Gershon Mesika after he said she was attempting to carry out an attack.

No Israelis were injured in any of the incidents.

The Huwwara checkpoint is a major thoroughfare for both Palestinians as well as Israelis living in illegal settlements, and has been site to frequent confrontation between local Palestinians and Israeli military and settlers in recent months.

It is one of four military checkpoints that Palestinians living in the Nablus district must cross to enter or exit the area, home to over 200,000 Palestinians.

Al-Jabi's suspected attack was the second to take place in the occupied Palestinian territory on Saturday. Another Palestinian was shot dead earlier in the day after reportedly attempting to stab an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem.

His family later told Ma'an that the young man suffered from mental disabilities, denying that he would have carried out an attack.

Amid violence that escalated in October and continued through this month, Senior UN official Miroslav Jenca said last week that attempts to reduce violence must not rely entirely on “enhanced security measures,” but “must also address the primary elements motivating Palestinian anger.”

“The injustices associated with an occupation which shows no prospect of ending feed into a perspective -- particularly among the youth -- that they have nothing to lose by sacrificing their lives,” the UN official said during an address to the UN Security Council.

While the majority of recent attacks have been carried out without the organization of political factions, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has not publicly condemned the recent attacks or upsurge in demonstrations.

Israeli authorities meanwhile have launched a crackdown in response to the escalation, promoting a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians as well as a series of harsh measures throughout the occupied territory that rights groups have termed collective punishment.

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