Tuesday 6 December 2016

Palestinian gunman kills Israeli and wounds family in West Bank attack

Published 01/07/2016 | 15:51

Israeli soldiers secure the scene of a shooting attack near Hebron (AP)
Israeli soldiers secure the scene of a shooting attack near Hebron (AP)

A Palestinian gunman has opened fire at a family travelling in a car in the West Bank, killing an Israeli man and wounding his wife and two teenage children.

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Hours earlier, police said a Palestinian woman was killed when she pulled out a knife and threatened an officer at a checkpoint near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.

Friday's violence comes a day after a Palestinian stabbed a 13-year-old Israeli girl to death as she slept in her bedroom in a West Bank settlement.

That attack, carried out by a 17-year-old Palestinian high school drop-out, was among the most brazen incidents so far in a nine-month wave of attacks, and it drew angry accusations and calls from Israeli leaders for the world to condemn the incident.

In Friday's attack on the family car, the wounded were taken to hospital and troops were searching for the Palestinian gunman who fled the scene, the military said.

Israeli media said the victim, a 40-year-old man, lost control of the car after being shot. His wife and teenage children, a boy and a girl, were wounded.

Media reported that dozens of spent bullet casings littered the scene of the attack, a road south of Hebron.

Earlier in the day, Israeli police said a Palestinian woman was shot and killed after she attempted to stab an officer during a security check outside a Hebron shrine revered by Muslims and Jews.

The woman, identified by Palestinian officials as 27-year-old Sarah Tarayreh, aroused suspicion at the checkpoint and was asked to go into a room to undergo a further security check by a female police officer, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

At that point, she pulled out a knife and tried to stab a female officer, Ms Samri said.

Another officer at the scene opened fire and killed the Palestinian woman, she added, refusing to provide more details.

Police released a photo of a knife they said the female attacker was wielding.

Video footage purportedly of the incident posted by the Israeli news website Ynet shows soldiers rushing towards the door of a room in the inspection area and standing outside.

Four shots ring out, followed by a man shouting in Hebrew "stop, stop, stop" and then a woman saying in Arabic: "What did I do?"

It is not clear from the footage who fired the shots, what happened inside the room and who spoke in Arabic. It is not clear either whether the footage had been edited.

The incident came a day after a Palestinian from the town of Bani Naim near Hebron stabbed to death a 13-year-old Jewish girl as she slept in her bedroom in a West Bank settlement.

Tarayreh was from the same town and the same clan as Thursday's attacker, but not a close relative, said Bani Naim mayor Mahmoud Manasrah.

Palestinian clans in the West Bank can have thousands of members.

Over the past nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbings, shootings and attacks using cars against civilians and security forces that killed 34 Israelis and two American tourists.

Israeli troops as well as some armed civilians have killed about 200 Palestinians during this period, most said by Israeli to be attackers.

The Palestinians and Israeli rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force at times by killing attackers who they say could have been subdued.

In some cases, Palestinians were killed as they tried to flee the scene, or after they had already been stopped or wounded after an attack.

Israel says the violence is fuelled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks.

Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for a state.

Meanwhile, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the family of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the girl stabbed to death on Thursday.

He said: "To see Hallel's room, to see the blood stains next to her bed and the books and clothes of a small child, this is shocking.

"It reminds us again who we are facing. They want to uproot what has been planted and we will deepen the roots. They will not make us leave here."

AP

Press Association

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