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2 Palestinians killed after alleged stabbing attack in Hebron

Sept. 19, 2016 2:08 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2016 5:19 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Monday afternoon, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma’an that two Palestinians were “apprehended and neutralized” at the Ibrahimi mosque checkpoint in Hebron after carrying out a stabbing attack on a border police officer.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement in Arabic that border police officers saw two “suspicious” Palestinians approaching the checkpoint and asked them to stop. When the two Palestinian youths continued walking towards them, brandishing knives, the officers opened fire, killing one of them on the scene and critically injuring the other.

A spokesperson for the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem told Ma'an that the second Palestinian arrived at the hospital "almost dead," and succumbed to his wounds at the hospital despite attempts to resuscitate him. She added that he had sustained several shots in the upper body.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health later identified the two as 21-year-old Muhannad Jameel al-Rajabi and 17-year-old Ameer Jamal al-Rajabi from Hebron.

After contradictory reports earlier in the day, al-Samri said that a border police officer sustained a light wound on his hand during the altercation.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma'an that one of their ambulances was "denied access" to the scene.

The slain youths are the 228th and 229th Palestinians to be killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest nearly a year ago across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. Some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

They are also two of six Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the Hebron district since Thursday amid an uptick in violence after a period of relative calm. A Jordanian citizen was also shot dead by Israeli border police in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.

Throughout the unrest, rights groups have repeatedly denounced what they have termed Israeli forces' "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.

The Hebron area in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with Israeli authorities severely restricting the movement of Palestinians in parts of its Old City as a "closed military zone" for several months, while July’s closures on Hebron saw the most widespread restrictions on movement in the occupied West Bank in two years.

In the wake of this week's violence, the Israeli army deployed an additional battalion to the Hebron district, while an Israeli army officer vowed strict punitive measures would be would be imposed on Palestinian civilians in the area.

Israel has come under harsh international condemnation for its response to attacks, which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” and represents a clear violation of international law.

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