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Palestinian teen shot after alleged stabbing attempt at Huwwara checkpoint

April 26, 2017 1:59 P.M. (Updated: April 27, 2017 12:00 P.M.)
Israeli soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem on June 29, 2015. ( AFP/ Ahmad Gharabli, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian teenager was shot and criticially injured by Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon after the teen allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed at the Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli army and Israeli media.

Locals identified the wounded Palestinian as 16-year-old Saleh Omar Saleh from Balata refugee camp in southern Nablus. According to locals, Saleh is the cousin of 17-year-old Amjad Maher Jaafar, who was shot multiple times in the stomach at the same location less than 24 hours earlier, after he too allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on Israeli soldiers.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Israeli soldiers said Wednesday that a Palestinian teen was running towards them and attempted to stab them before forces opened fire on the teen. Saleh was taken by Israeli forces to the Rabin Medical Center in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, where Jaafar was also evacuated on Tuesday, and remained in a difficult condition as of late Tuesday night.

Overnight Tuesday, hours after Jaafar was shot, a group of Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian vehicle near Huwwara village.

The Palestinian town of Huwwara is located only a few hundred meters away from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, home to some of the occupied West Bank’s most notorious and aggressive Israeli settlers.

Right-wing extremist settlers often carry out attacks on Palestinians and their property, known as “price tag attacks,” as revenge for attacks committed by Palestinians on Israeli forces.

The frequency of alleged and actual small-scale stabbing attacks by Palestinians peaked during a wave of violence in the fall of 2015, with Israeli forces being the target of international condemnation for implementing a "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians that could have been detained without using lethal force.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since October 2015, with about 40 Israelis being killed by Palestinians in the same period. Since the start of 2017, 16 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers or police.

While Israeli officials have routinely claimed that Palestinian attacks are part of a international rise in Islamist extremism, many Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.
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