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4 Palestinians shot dead after alleged stabbing attempts in West Bank

Jan. 7, 2016 8:26 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 8, 2016 5:19 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot dead four Palestinians from the town of Sair on Thursday night after they allegedly carried out two separate stabbing attempts in the southern West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

In the night's first deadly encounter, three Palestinian cousins were killed after they allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction in the southern occupied West Bank.

An Israeli army spokesperson alleged that all three Palestinians were "armed with knives" and attempted to "attack Israeli soldiers guarding the Gush Etzion junction."

She said Israeli forces "thwarted" the attack and "responded to the imminent danger" by opening fire on the Palestinians.

While two were immediately confirmed dead, she said that Israeli emergency services attempted to treat the third Palestinian before he succumbed to his wounds.

A spokesperson for Israeli emergency services Magen David Adom confirmed that no Israelis were injured in the attack.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent said their ambulance crews "were not allowed to get close to the scene."

The three Palestinians were later identified as cousins Ahmad Salim Abd al-Majid Kawazba, Alaa Abed Muhammad Kawazba, and Muhannad Ziyad Kawazba, all from the town of Sair northeast of Hebron.

Shortly after the incident, another Palestinian from the same town, identified as 16-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Shalaldah, was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the Beit Einun junction northeast of Hebron.

An Israeli army spokesperson said the teenager was "armed with a knife," but that Israeli soldiers "thwarted the attack, and shot the assailant, resulting in his death." There were no Israeli injuries reported.

Shaladah's brother, Mahmoud al-Shalaldah, succumbed to wounds he sustained during clashes with Israeli forces near Sair on Nov. 13.

Since October, around 145 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israelis, the majority in the occupied West Bank.

While Israel alleges many of those were attempting to attack Israelis when they were shot, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases.

The attacks that have taken place have claimed the lives of more than 20 Israelis.

The Gush Etzion junction where the three Kawazba cousins were killed on Thursday has been the site of a number of deadly encounters since October.

Another member of the Kawazba family -- 18-year-old Ahmad Younis Kawazba, also from Sair -- was shot dead there on Tuesday after he reportedly stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli soldier at the junction.
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