Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinians, one an alleged attacker
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian woman in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday who they said had approached them while carrying a knife. Another Palestinian was killed as the army went to demolish the family home of an attacker.
The military released a photo of what it said was the knife she was carrying. It said the soldiers were patrolling a highway near the Al-Aroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank. No soldiers were wounded.
The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the woman as Ghafran Warasna and said she was shot in the chest. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said the 31-year-old had been released from Israeli prison in April after serving three months.
An Israeli security official said Warasna was jailed from January to March after attempting to stab an Israeli police officer in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said she attempted to stab the soldier on Wednesday at “point-blank range.” There were no photos or videos immediately available to confirm the account.
The Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate said Warasna had worked on and off as a journalist for more than a decade. Dream Radio, a local station in Hebron, said she was on the way to their studio for a broadcast when she was killed.
In a separate incident, at least one Palestinian was killed in or near the northern West Bank town of Jenin, according to the Health Ministry, which did not provide further details.
Israeli forces were operating in the nearby village of Yaabed in order to demolish the family home of a Palestinian who methodically gunned down five people in Bnei Brak in March. Such operations often ignite gunbattles between Palestinian militants and Israeli troops. The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jenin has been the epicenter of a recent wave of violence. Israel has carried out near-daily arrest raids in the West Bank amid a string of attacks by Palestinians that have killed at least 19 people.
Tensions have soared following the killing in the West Bank of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who worked for Al Jazeera, and an Israeli ultranationalist march through a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
Recent weeks have seen at least 35 Palestinians killed by Israel. Some were gunmen killed in fighting with Israel, while others were shot while allegedly throwing stones or firebombs at Israeli troops in the West Bank. But an unarmed woman and at least two people who appear to have been bystanders were also among those killed.
Abu Akleh died during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank. The Palestinians say Israeli troops killed her, while Israel says she was caught in the crossfire of a battle and it’s not clear if soldiers or Palestinian gunmen fired the deadly bullet.
Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing attacks in recent years, often against Israeli soldiers. But Israel has also faced criticism from rights groups who say security forces sometimes use deadly force rather than arresting suspected attackers or stop them with nondeadly force.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians want it to be the main part of their future state. Nearly 3 million Palestinians live under Israeli military rule in the territory, alongside a growing population of nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers who have Israeli citizenship. The last serious peace talks broke down more than a decade ago.
Associated Press writer Josef Federman contributed to this report.