3 Israelis Wounded in Knife Attacks, 6 Palestinian Assailants Killed Over Violent Weekend

Tensions remain high in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

A Palestinian posing as a journalist runs after a wounded Israeli soldier to continue stabbing him before being shot dead near West Bank city of Hebron, October 16, 2015.
A Palestinian posing as a journalist runs after a wounded Israeli soldier to continue stabbing him before being shot dead near the West Bank city of Hebron, October 16, 2015. Reuters

Three Israeli officers were wounded in separate terror attacks in and around Hebron over the weekend, as tensions remained high in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Six Palestinian assailants were shot dead during alleged knife attacks on Saturday, including two in the capital. 

In Jerusalem, a 16-year-old Palestinian drew a knife on police officers on Satuday morning when they asked for identification, after a bystander said he was behaving suspiciously. The officers shot and killed the teenager after he tried to stab them, a police spokesperson said. The incident took place near Armon Hanatziv.

Saturday’s other stabbing attacks included three in Hebron, in the West Bank. In the first incident, the Israel Defense Forces said an Israeli pedestrian shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to stab him. The attack occurred in Beit Hadassah early on Saturday. Palestinian sources said the assailant was Fadel Mohammed al-Qawasameh, an 18-year-old resident of Hebron. 

Palestinian officials expressed doubt over Qawasameh’s intentions to carry out an attack. In addition, a Hebron resident said Qawasameh was not immediately killed, and that soldiers prevented Red Crescent emergency responders from providing medical treatment. However, photographs seemed to document Israeli soldiers providing Qawasameh with medical treatment and attempting CPR.

Later, a Palestinian woman stabbed a female officer at a Border Police base in Hebron and lightly injured her before the officer shot her dead, police said.

In the third incident, a 20-year-old soldier was wounded in a stabbing attack near the Tomb of the Patriachs in Hebron. The assailant was shot, apparently by the soldier. Magen David Adom emergency service said the soldier suffered light wounds to his upper body and added that he had been taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, after receiving treatment on the scene.

Settlers initially blocked the ambulance carrying the wounded assailant, but were then dispersed by soldiers. The assailant later died of his wounds.

Shortly afterward, a Palestinian attempted to stab a Border Police officer at the Qalandiyah checkpoint, near Ramallah. The assailant was shot and killed. According to Jerusalem Police, the assailant jabbed at the officer with a knife but failed to pierce through his protective vest. Officers fired at the assailant’s lower body, and he fell down. When a sapper examined the assailant for explosives, he pulled another knife and tried to stab the officer. A Border Police officer then fired at the assailant, killing him.

An Israeli soldier was also stabbed and moderately wounded on Friday afternoon, during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians near Hebron. The terrorist was shot and killed on the scene. 

The attacker, Iyad al-Awawda, 26, from the town of Dura, was reportedly dressed as a photographer, with a camera and a vest labeled “Press.”

The assailant arrived at the intersection between the Palestinian village of Tarqumiya and the Israeli settlement of Adora, and stabbed the soldier. He was shot dead by other IDF soldiers. 

Magen David Adom paramedics brought the soldier, who was stabbed in his upper body, to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, for treatment.

Also in the West Bank, Ihab Hanani, 19, was shot in the chest during clashes in Beit Furik, near Nablus. He was rushed to the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus but succumbed to his wounds. According to the IDF, dozens of Palestinians were throwing stones and burning tires at Israeli forces, who responded with Ruger fire toward the legs of two protesters. The IDF said they were checking the reports that one of the protesters died of his wounds.

Clashes erupted in several other locations in the West Bank as well. The IDF reported that Palestinians fired toward soldiers near the settlement of Ofra. None were wounded.

Back in Hebron, 10 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces during a joint Fatah, Hamas and Popular Front protest march. According to the IDF, 10 Palestinians were also wounded in clashes near Ramallah and Beit Omar. Hundreds of Palestinians also clashed with troops in Halhul and Tul Karm.

There were also clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the Gaza Strip border fence on Friday afternoon, with one Palestinian reported dead and 27 others wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Yahiya Farakhat, 27, from the Al-Shati refugee camp, was killed during clashes near the Erez crossing, on the northern border with Israel. Hundreds of Palestinians approached the border fence in several locations, throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli troops, who reportedly responded with tear gas and live fire.

The Health Ministry said 11 Palestinians were wounded by the live fire, plus one by rubber bullets and the rest by tear gas.

Palestinians broke through the Gaza security fence several times in the past two weeks, with Israeli soldiers taking action to force them back. More than 10 Palestinians were killed during these clashes. On Friday morning, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported that a 37-year-old man who was wounded by live fire in one such clash this week near Beit Hanun had succumbed to his wounds.

Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said in a sermon during Friday prayers in Gaza that the “intifada has started, and we don’t know where it will end. We all hope it will beat the occupation, since that is a divine promise. The confrontation with the occupation is a divine matter, and written in the Koran. Anyone who thinks the resistance against the occupation is coming from Gaza alone is delusional – the resistance is coming from all of Palestine.”

A member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military arm, said in an interview aired by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an on Friday that the group will join the fight against Israel. So far, the Palestinian factions haven’t participated in the escalation. It is unclear how binding the statement is by the brigades member, whose rank and name weren’t revealed, but it is likely to increase pressure on the Palestinian leadership to take action.