One Palestinian dead after shooting at West Bank checkpoint

One Palestinian dead after shooting at West Bank checkpoint

Two Palestinians carrying knives ran towards an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, drawing fire from troops who killed one and critically wounded the other, according to police and a Palestinian medic.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian seriously wounded a man in a stabbing attack at a railway station in Jerusalem before he was shot and wounded by Israeli forces, police said.

Israeli media said the man hurt in the stabbing was a US tourist, but police could not immediately confirm the report.

The incidents were the latest in series of Palestinian attacks that began in mid-September and were accompanied by widespread unrest, including clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops.

Eleven Israelis have been killed in attacks and 64 Palestinians by Israeli fire in the past six weeks. Thirty-nine of the Palestinians were said by Israel to have been involved in attacks or attempted attacks.

Israel has blamed the attacks on what it says is anti-Israel incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders. Palestinians say the violence is driven by the hopelessness many people feel after nearly half a century of Israeli military rule, with no end in sight.

Israeli forces also imposed new restrictions on Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled centre of Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, residents said.

The military barred Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 25 from entering a major Hebron shrine that is revered by Muslims and Jews, said senior Muslim cleric Munther Abu Felat. He said the age restrictions were enforced only partially.

In recent days, Hebron has become a flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence, with near-daily deadly confrontations at Israeli checkpoints that guard enclaves of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers in the centre of the city. In these incidents, Palestinians have been shot dead after the military said they stabbed or tried to stab soldiers.

Hebron has been divided since the late 1990s, as part of what was meant to be an interim agreement ahead of a final peace deal that never materialised. Israel controls the city centre, where 850 Jewish settlers live, while the remaining areas of the city are under Palestinian self-rule.

The most restricted area, near settler enclaves, is home to about 10,000 Palestinians, said Palestinian community organiser Issa Amro.

He said Palestinians were informed by troops at checkpoints on Friday that Palestinian non-residents would not be able to enter these areas.

The Israeli military said that in light of recent stabbing attacks in the area, “several precautionary measures were taken to contain potential attacks in the future and maintain the well-being and safety of Israelis”.

The Jerusalem stabbing took place at a station of the city’s light railway – a frequent target of assailants in recent weeks. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said a Palestinian man stabbed a man waiting at the station, seriously injuring him.

As he tried to stab another person, police and transport security guards opened fire, seriously wounding him and hitting an Israeli civilian in the leg, she said.

Earlier in the West Bank, two Palestinians drove up to a checkpoint on a motorcycle, dismounted and then charged an officer from the paramilitary border police, Ms Samri said.

Another officer opened fire on the pair, killing one attacker and injuring the other.

Palestinian medics identified the Palestinian killed by troops as 18-year-old Mahmoud Sabaaneh from a town in the northern West Bank. They said the wounded man was in critical condition.

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