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Palestinian woman detained for lightly wounding Israeli soldier at checkpoint

April 24, 2017 9:34 A.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 4:48 P.M.)
Asiya Kaabna, and a photo of the knife allegedly found in her bag (Israeli police spokesperson)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian woman was detained Monday morning after she allegedly stabbed and lightly wounded a female Israeli soldier at the Qalandiya checkpoint stationed between the central occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli police who claimed that the woman attempted to commit suicide by provoking Israeli forces to shoot her.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld reported shortly after 7 a.m. that a "female terrorist stabbed a female security personnel on duty, causing her light injuries" at the military checkpoint. The Israeli soldier was evacuated to a hospital for treatment, and the area was closed off, he added.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement in Arabic that a Palestinian woman approached the checkpoint, "and as she waited for her turn for inspection, she approached a young female security officer claiming she wanted to inquire about something. At this point, she seemingly pulled out a knife that was in her bag and stabbed the officer."

Al-Samri identified the suspect as 39-year-old mother of nine, Asiya Kaabna, a resident of the village of Tayba in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. According to al-Samri, Kaabna is originally from Jordan, and was most recently residing in Duma in the northern Nablus district of the West Bank.

According to al-Samri, Kaabna said during interrogation that she had "domestic disputes" with her husband over raising their nine kids, and that her husband has repeatedly threatened to expel her to Jordan. "For these reasons she decided to carry out an attack, expecting to be shot dead by Israeli forces to put an end to her life."

The frequency of alleged and actual small-scale stabbing attacks by Palestinians peaked during a wave of violence in the fall of 2015. At least six Palestinians have been killed at the notorious Qalandiya checkpoint since then, with Israeli forces being the target of international condemnation for implementing a "shoot-to-kill" policy against Palestinians.

After a pattern of apparent extrajudicial executions of Palestinians by Israeli forces emerged since October 2015, Israeli authorities and media outlets have claimed that a number of the Palestinians were shot after they intentionally provoked Israeli forces at military checkpoints in order to commit suicide.

The incident came a day after an 18-year-old Palestinian man from the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus assaulted and lightly wounded at least four people in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv in an alleged stab attack.

In the wake of the attack, Israeli authorities reportedly ordered a freeze on permits given to pro-Palestinian organizations to travel to Israel, pending the end of the investigation, following reports that the young Palestinian had been given a one-day permit at the request of one such organization.

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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