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Israeli police kill Palestinian woman in Hebron's Old City after alleged stab attempt

July 1, 2016 10:21 A.M. (Updated: July 5, 2016 5:51 P.M.)
IDF soldiers stand guard near the site where a Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier before being shot dead in the West Bank city of Hebron on October 28, 2015. (AFP Photo/Hazem Bader)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces Friday shot dead a Palestinian woman who allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to Israeli sources -- the third attack to result in a Palestinian being killed in less than two days.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that the Palestinian woman was shot by border police after revealing a knife at a security checkpoint and attempting to stab the officers. Her condition was initially reported as "critical."

It was later reported by Rosenfeld that the Palestinian woman had been killed at the scene. No Israelis were injured during the incident. Hours later, a 15-year-old Palestinian girl was detained near the Ibrahimi Mosque for allegedly having a knife on her person.

The slain Palestinian woman was identified as 27-year-old Sarah Tarayra from the village of Bani Naim in Hebron, the hometown 17-year-old Muhammad Nasser Tarayra who carried out a deadly stab attack in the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement just a day before, resulting in the death of a 13-year-old Israeli girl. It remained unconfirmed if and how the two were related, as they shared the same surname, a common occurrence in Palestinian villages.

Yousef Mustafa Tarayra,18, from Bani Naim, reportedly a cousin of Muhammad Taraya, was shot dead alongside two other Palestinian youth in March after they allegedly carried out two consecutive attacks near Kiryat Arba, injuring four Israeli soldiers.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported following Thursday's incident that Muhammad Taraya had also posted on Facebook praising other Palestinians who had carried out or attempted to carry out attacks on Israelis, including a woman who was shot dead last week after she allegedly attempted to carry out a car ramming attack near Kiryat Arba.

In recent months, Israel has accused Palestinian leadership of “inciting terror” and detained scores of Palestinians over Facebook posts that Israeli authorities alleged were responsible for an increase in alleged attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli military targets and settlers.

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

The town Bani Naim has been sealed by Israeli forces since Thursday, with only urgent humanitarian cases allowed passage through Israeli checkpoints, in a punitive response the attack in Kiryat Arba. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they did not have further information on the expected duration of the closure.

In the second attack on Thursday, an armed Israeli civilian shot dead a Palestinian man in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya after he allegedly carried out a stab attack, leaving two Israelis wounded.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis and some 31 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians since a wave of unrest first swept across the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel in October.The unrest has been marked by a surge of small-scale attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals -- predominantly on Israeli military targets.

The majority of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks have been shot dead on site, but investigations by rights groups have reported that a number of Palestinians killed did not pose sufficient threat for the use of lethal force at the time of their death.

The Hebron area in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval. The checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque, where Friday's incident took place, is located in Hebron's Old City, which had been designated as a "closed military zone" by the Israeli army since November amid dozens of cases in which more than 40 Palestinians were killed.

Palestinian residents of the area were forced to register under a number system in order to pass through the Old City's nearly 20 military checkpoints, and locals have reported heavier restrictions imposed by the army that Israeli rights group B'Tselem has referred to as "draconian measures."

While the closed military zone status was lifted mid-May following a a period of relative calm, severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians in Hebron remain, particularly in the area designated as H2 -- under full Israeli military control -- which encompasses the Ibrahimi Mosque and much of the Old City. Security measures are likely to increase following this week's incidents.
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