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Palestinian shot, seriously injured after allegedly stabbing, wounding Israeli soldier

Sept. 18, 2016 9:54 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2016 10:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces shot and seriously injured a Palestinian man after he allegedly stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli army officer Sunday morning at a guard post in the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat southwest of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.

The incident came after four Palestinians and one Jordanian were killed by Israeli forces in recent days, amid an upsurge in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory.

According to an Israeli army statement, an “assailant stabbed and wounded an Israeli army officer. In response to the immediate threat, forces fired at assailant. Both evacuated for medical care,” reportedly at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

According to Israeli media, the 30-year old Israeli army commander sustained stab wounds to his upper body, and other Israeli army soldiers stationed at the guard post shot and wounded the Palestinian suspect.

According to Israeli news site Ynet, the settlement's electronic security system had identified movement within 400 meters of the settlement between 2 and 4 a.m. on Sunday, and a “civilian security squad” accompanied by Israeli army forces went to the scene to search for a “suspicious individual.”

“At around 6 a.m., the assailant, who was hiding in the bushes, jumped out and stabbed the officer using two knives,” Ynet reported.

Local Palestinian news sites also reported that Israeli authorities had instructed to prevent the entry of Palestinian workers to the Efrat settlement after the attack.

The suspect was later identified by locals as 20-year-old Baha al-Din Muhammad Khalil Odeh, originally from the village of Artas southwest of Bethlehem city, who was reportedly living in a village of Wadi Rahhal located just northeast of the illegal Efrat settlement.

Just a day prior, Israeli forces shot dead a 25-year-old Palestinian man in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank on Saturday morning after an alleged stabbing attack -- the same neighborhood where a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was killed after he allegedly stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli soldier on Friday.

A short distance away and less than two hours earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed 18-year-old Fares Moussa Muhammad Khaddour and critically wounded his fiancee Raghad Abdullah Abdullah Khaddour, also 18, at the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba just outside of Hebron's Old City, after the two allegedly carried out a car ramming attack that left three Israeli civilians injured.

Some 45 minutes prior to the incident at Kiryat Arba, a Jordanian citizen was shot and killed by Israeli forces after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack outside Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, with his family later reporting they had serious doubts over the Israeli army's narrative of his killing.

Meanwhile, a 30-year-old Palestinian man was killed on Thursday 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 the man as soldiers reportedly struggled to detain him.

In the wake of the violence, the Israeli army announced Saturday they would deploy an additional battalion in the district of Hebron, after the army also placed the Hebron-area village of Bani Naim under a full military blockade, the village from where the Khadours resided, as part of Israel's policy of imposing punitive measures upon families and villages from which "terrorists" originate -- a policy that has been slammed by the international community and rights groups as "collective punishment" and illegal under international law.

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned the killings Saturday morning, calling Israeli actions “extrajudicial killings.”

“Israel is flagrantly employing a systematic and willful policy of summary executions against the Palestinian people; such provocative acts are in direct violation of international law and conventions,” Ashrawi said.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing extremist government are creating a culture of violence, intimidation, and lawlessness that is destroying the chances for peace,” Ashrawi continued, adding that the government’s “volatile actions threaten to plunge the entire region into further instability, extremism and chaos.”

According to Ma'an documentation, at least 227 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.
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