An Israeli police officer shot and killed a Palestinian man who stabbed him early on Tuesday, police said, the latest in a series of deadly incidents during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The police said the man drew a knife and stabbed the officer during a security check near a construction site in the southern city of Ashkelon. The officer, lightly wounded, shot the man and killed him. The Magen David Adom rescue service took the officer to a nearby hospital.
Police did not identify the Palestinian man, but said he was was from Hebron in the occupied West Bank. The shooting raised to five the number of Palestinians killed in recent days, among them an unarmed woman who was shot and killed at a military checkpoint in Bethlehem.
The incidents are part of a spate of violence around Israel during Ramadan, when tensions between Israelis and Palestinians tend to run high. Ramadan this year converges with major Jewish and Christian holidays. Protests and clashes in Jerusalem during Ramadan last year boiled over into an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants.
“We will not let them, our enemy, stop our lives,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told about 100 late-night revelers at the re-opening of Tel Aviv’s Ilka bar, the nightclub where a Palestinian gunman killed three people last Thursday before being gunned down.“We’re returning back to life… And simultaneously, we fight.”
Israel has stepped up its military activity in the West Bank after Palestinian assailants killed 14 Israelis in four attacks inside the country in recent weeks. At the same time, it has taken a series of steps to try to calm the situation, including granting thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, run by the militant Hamas group, permits to work inside Israel.
Palestinian assailants often carry out attacks at checkpoints in the West Bank. But Palestinians and human rights groups say the Israeli military often uses excessive force and in some cases has injured or killed people who were not involved in violence.
The Israeli military said it opened fire at a man throwing a firebomb at an Israeli vehicle driving on a West Bank highway late Sunday. On Monday, the government said it arrested 13 Palestinians suspected of militant activity in the West Bank, and that during the arrest Palestinians threw rocks at troops and burned tires.
Israeli forces patrolled Jenin, considered a stronghold of Palestinian militants, on Sunday as soldiers investigated the home of the Tel Aviv attacker. The army said soldiers came under fire from a gunman on a motorcycle and shot him.
Earlier Sunday, Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian women. The army said one had stabbed and lightly wounded a policeman in the city of Hebron. The other was an unarmed woman who said ignored warning shots and calls to stop as she approached a checkpoint near Bethlehem.
The European Union’s diplomatic mission to the Palestinian territories, accused Israel of using unacceptable excessive force in fatally shooting the unarmed woman. “This incidence must be swiftly investigated and the perpetrators be brought to justice,” it wrote on Twitter.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.