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Palestinian killed after alleged vehicular attack in southern West Bank

July 18, 2017 2:36 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2017 10:45 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian was killed after allegedly carrying out a car-ramming attack in the Hebron district of the southern occupied West Bank on Tuesday afternoon.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a vehicular attack took place at the entrance of Beit Einun north of Hebron, adding that "in response to the immediate threat," Israeli forces fired at the vehicle.

They added that "a hit was confirmed," clarifying that the Palestinian was "not alive."

Palestinian security sources identified the slain Palestinian as 29-year-old Rafaat Nathmi Shukri Hirbawi from Hebron City.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers opened fire at a Mazda car with Palestinian license plates, in which two people were riding. The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an, however, that they were only aware of one person in the vehicle.

Immediately after shooting at the vehicle, large numbers of Israeli troops arrived at the scene and closed off the road to traffic, the eyewitnesses said, adding that the soldiers denied a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance access to the wounded Palestinian.

Two soldiers were lightly wounded in the incident, the army spokesperson said, adding that they were being hospitalized.

Magen David Adom, the Israeli emergency health service, reported on social media that two Israeli men in their twenties had been evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in mild condition.

However, a spokesperson at the hospital told Ma'an she was not aware of any soldiers being treated there.

Israeli news outlet The Jerusalem Post reported that two pedestrians in their sixties were also injured in the incident.

Immediately following the incident, a group of Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian journalists who arrived to the scene from covering the event.

Israeli soldiers aggressively pushed back a Ma'an cameraman, shouted at him in Hebrew, and covered his camera with their hands.

Ma’an reporter Duaa al-Atrash was attempting to take pictures with her cell phone when Israeli soldiers threatened to detain her if she didn't leave the area.

Israeli forces routinely prevent Palestinian journalists from covering events in the occupied territory, and journalists risk being detained or even injured, as part of a broader crackdown on Palestinian freedom of expression in an attempt to conceal Israeli human rights abuses.

According to Ma'an documentation, 45 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year -- eight of whom were killed in the past seven days alone.

Aws Muhammad Yousif Salameh, 17, and Saad Nasser Hassan Abd al-Fattah Salah, 20, were killed during clashes in Jenin refugee camp on July 12, while 18-year-old Baraa Hamamda died in similar circumstances in al-Duheisha refugee camp on July 14.

That same day, three Palestinian citizens of Israel, Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19, Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, 29, were killed by Israeli forces while carrying out a shooting attack which killed two Israeli police officers, who were also Palestinian citizens of Israel, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.

Ammar Ahmad Khalil, meanwhile, was killed during an Israeli army raid in the village of Nabi Salih on Sunday, as Israeli forces accused him of being involved in past shooting incidents.

Ten Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in 2017.

Activists, and rights groups have denounced what they have termed a "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 -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.

Meanwhile, a report released by Human Rights Watch earlier this year documented “numerous statements” made by senior Israeli politicians and religious figures “calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life.”

HRW noted that Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy has received widespread support among Israeli citizens, citing a 2016 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute which found that 47 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the sentiment that “any Palestinian who carries out a terror attack against Jews should be killed on the spot, even if he has been captured and clearly does not pose a threat.”
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