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2 Palestinians shot dead after allegedly stabbing soldier in Hebron

March 24, 2016 9:34 A.M. (Updated: March 27, 2016 6:21 P.M.)
(MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces, including one after he had already been subdued, after they allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron's Old City on Thursday morning.

The two assailants reportedly stabbed a soldier near a military checkpoint and “forces responded and shot the attackers,” an Israeli army spokesperson said.

Israeli emergency medical services said the soldier, who was about 20 years old, was evacuated for treatment and in moderate condition.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the two Palestinian youths as Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, 21, and Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 21.

A witness told Ma'an: "I heard gunshots, went outside my house to check what it was, and saw several Israeli soldiers yelling and two youths on the ground. A soldier approached one of the youths that was moving while yelling and opened fire at him from zero range."

A video broadcast by Israeli media show the two Palestinians lying on the ground after they were shot dead, and a knife nearby. 

In graphic footage later released by human rights group B'Tselem, an Israeli soldier is seen shooting al-Sharif in the head after he had already been injured and left, motionless, on the ground for minutes. 

The footage shows medical teams treating the moderately injured soldier while ignoring the dying Palestinian youths, while the second shooting of al-Sharif takes place in plain view of the medical team and other soldiers who did not react to the seeming execution.

 At 1:50 in the graphic video, the soldier shoots the injured youth in the head: 

"Half an hour later, Israeli soldiers covered the two youths with black covers and took them to an unknown destination," the witness added.

The incident near the Hebron military checkpoint comes as Palestinians face severe movement restrictions, as Israeli authorities shut down all movement through checkpoints in and out of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Israeli settlers as well as other right-wing Israelis held celebrations in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City late Tuesday night ahead of the holiday. Locals told Ma'an that during the celebrations, the settlers "provocatively" used the mosque's loudspeakers "to sing racist songs that call for the expulsion of 'Arabs' from Hebron."

The Old City has been among many sites of increased violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October.

According to Ma'an reports, at least 203 Palestinians have been killed, the majority shot dead while carrying out small-scale attacks. Almost 30 Israelis have been killed during the same time period.

US and Israeli officials have criticized Palestinian leadership for failing to condemn a number of attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals -- the majority of which have been carried out on military targets -- while critics say Israel has practiced a policy of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians.

Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the wave of attacks, but said that Israeli security measures were failing to "address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians -- especially young people."

He added: "As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism."

(MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati)

(MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati)

(MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati)

(MaanImages/Zeidan al-Sharabati, File)

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