A Palestinian wielding a knife was shot dead by Jewish settlers today in what appeared to be a foiled attack in a West Bank settlement.
The attack, which follows the killing of a 13-year-old at another settlement early this month, seemed likely to inflame further tensions between the Palestinians and Israel’s new hardline government.
The Palestinian entered the settlement of Beit Hagai and tried to stab several residents before he was shot by settlers, the Zaka rescue service said.
One of the settlers told Army Radio that he and a friend had confronted the Palestinian, who appeared to be between 18 and 20. When approached, the man pulled out a knife, according to the settler, who identified himself only as Uziel.
“I had a pistol on me. I tried to shoot, but it jammed. During the struggle, he ran after me as well, and then my friend took the pistol and shot him,” Uziel said.
The Israeli military said one Israeli received a light stab wound. Troops and police closed roads nearby and were searching the area, the military said.
No Palestinian group immediately took responsibility.
In an attack early this month, a Palestinian wielding an axe killed a 13-year-old and wounded a seven-year-old in Bat Ayin, an Israeli settlement not far away. The attacker escaped.
Israel’s new government, headed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is dominated by hawks who have suggested Israeli concessions in the West Bank would allow Palestinians to threaten Israel’s security.
After the first attack, a government spokesman said Israel would have a “zero tolerance policy” towards militants.
Moderate Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas runs a Western-backed government in the West Bank, but the area is under the overall control of Israel’s military.
The creation of a Palestinian state is the centrepiece of US peace efforts in the region, and that would require an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the removal of most, if not all, of Israel’s settlements there.
Israel’s previous government held peace talks with Abbas. But Netanyahu has yet to say he supports the creation of a Palestinian state, and Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has said Israeli concessions have only brought more violence.