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15-year-old Palestinian shot dead after alleged stab attack in Hebron's Old City

Sept. 16, 2016 5:48 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2016 5:54 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A 15-year-old was shot dead after stabbing and lightly injuring an Israeli solider near the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron's Old City in the southern occupied West Bank Friday afternoon. He was the third Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in less than 24 hours, while a Jordanian national was also shot dead on Friday by Israeli police.

Local sources idenfied the 15-year-old as Muhammad Thalji Kayid Thalji al-Rajabi.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that the Palestinian arrived to the Gilbert military checkpoint near Tel Rumeida armed with a knife and stabbed an Israeli army soldier, who was reportedly 19 years old.

"Responding to the threat, Israeli soldiers shot towards the assailant, resulting in his death," the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson could not confirm the Israeli soldier's condition, though Israeli newspaper Times of Israeli reported he had been "lightly" injured by a knife wound to the face, and was evacuated by Israel's emergency medical services Magen David Adom for treatment at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Local sources said Israeli forces prevented an ambulance from reaching the Palestinian after he was shot.

Hours earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man at the entrance of the Kiryat Arba settlement just outside of Hebron's Old City, and critically wounded his fiancee who was also in the vehicle after the two allegedly carried out a car ramming attack on Friday that left three Israeli civilians injured.

Less than 45 minutes prior, a Jordanian citizen was shot and killed by Israeli forces after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack outside Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem.

Overnight on Thursday, Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fattah al-Sarrahin, 30, was killed after succumbing to gunshot wounds sustained earlier in the day when Israeli forces raided the village of Beit Ula in the district of Hebron and opened live fire on al-Sarrahin as soldiers reportedly struggled to detain him.

According to Ma'an documentation, at least 225 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis and some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians since a wave of unrest first swept across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October.

The Hebron area in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with Israeli authorities severely restricting the movement of Palestinians by declaring the area of Tel Rumeida and other parts of the Old City as a "closed military zone" for several months in November amid dozens of incidents in which more than 40 Palestinians were killed.

Thursday's and Friday's incidents marked the highest concentration of Palestinian deaths in recent months since June when three Palestinians were killed in less than 48 hours after allegedly carrying out attacks which killed two Israelis -- one in Hebron's Old city, another in Kiryat Arba, and one in Israel -- while a fourth died during clashes.

Israel has come under repeated criticism for failing to carry out due process in response to alleged and actual attacks, particularly in regard to the apparent extrajudicial executions of Palestinians who no longer posed a threat when they were killed.

The Tel Rumeida area was also the site of one of the highest profile "executions" to take place during the unrest, when an Israeli soldier shot and killed a prone Palestinian at point-blank range.

The high-profile case drew unprecedented international condemnation toward the Israeli army, after a video clip was immediately released showing the brutal killing, and subsequently released footage showed both an Israeli soldier and ambulance driver tampering with evidence. The soldier has been on trial for manslaughter.

Despite the 19-year old Israeli soldier being thrown into the spotlight for being caught in the act -- with his own commanders testifying that the shooting was unjustified and the Israeli army prosecution branding the case “cold-blooded murder” -- many have said the case is just a documented example of a wider “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians advocated by Israeli officials since a wave of unrest began last October.

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