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Israeli soldier shot dead accidentally as soldiers fire on alleged Palestinian attacker

Feb. 24, 2016 1:25 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 25, 2016 1:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday accidentally shot dead an Israeli soldier when they opened fire on and wounded a Palestinian they allege was attempting to carry out a stabbing attack near the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Bethlehem.

An Israeli army spokesperson said Israeli forces opened fire on the Palestinian after he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. They shot both him and an in-uniform Israeli airforce captain standing nearby.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian were evacuated to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem.

The Israeli, who was shot in his chest, was rushed to the emergency room but later pronounced dead, a hospital spokesperson said.

The Palestinian, meanwhile, was also undergoing operation in the emergency room.

Unverified reports circulating on social media identified him as Mamdou Yousef Mahmoud Amro, a 26-year-old teacher from Hebron. An Israeli army spokesperson identified the soldier as Eliav Gelman, 30.

Israeli news site Haaretz initially reported that the gunshots may have been fired by an armed Israeli settler, although this was not immediately confirmed.

More than 170 Palestinians have now been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since October. Israel says the majority were shot dead while attempting to carry out attacks, although international rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in several cases.

The attacks that have taken place -- mostly by Palestinian individuals armed only with knives -- have killed nearly 30 Israelis.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month it was "human nature" for Palestinians to react violently to Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation, as he urged a change in Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territory.
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