Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank yesterday including one the military said had tried to stab a soldier, as four months of tensions simmered.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 21-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli army gunfire during a confrontation between troops and protesters in the town of Beit Jalla, near Bethlehem. The military said troops had fired at “rioters who hurled firebombs and rocks at the soldiers”.
In a separate incident, a military spokeswoman said troops fatally shot a Palestinian who got out of a car and tried to stab a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron. The driver of the vehicle was shot and wounded, and fled the scene, the spokeswoman added. Palestinian officials said he died.
Since Oct. 1, Palestinian stabbings, car-rammings and shooting attacks have killed 24 Israelis and a US citizen. The wave of bloodshed has raised fears of wider escalation, a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.
During the period, Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 142 Palestinians, 90 of whom authorities described as assailants. Most others have been killed in clashes with security forces.
Four Israelis, including a soldier and a prison officer, were charged yesterday with aggravated assault in connection with the death of an Eritrean national, who was shot and beaten after being mistaken for a gunman during an attack in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Oct. 18.
An Arab citizen of Israel shot and killed one person and wounded 11 in the incident. He was shot dead, and a security guard also fired at the Eritrean, wounding him.
The Eritrean, an asylum-seeker, was then set upon by the four defendants, who prosecutors said kicked him as he lay on the ground and hit him with a bench. He died of his wounds.
The security guard, who authorities said had acted reasonably in the heat of the shooting attack, was not charged.
Meanwhile, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called yesterday for an investigation to determine whether Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during recent violence there, local media reported.
The comments were the latest in a series of statements by Wallstrom that have irked Israeli authorities. Ties between Sweden and Israel nose-dived when Sweden recognised the Palestinian state shortly after Wallstrom’s centre-left Social Democrats won a parliamentary election in 2014.
The brother (left) and father (right) of 17-year-old Adnan al-Mashti, who was shot by Israeli forces during an attempted stabbing attack near Hebron, mourn over his body at a hospital in Hebron city yesterday. Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during an attempted stabbing attack in the occupied West Bank while a third was killed in unrelated clashes.