Palestinian PM condemns West Bank 'stabbing incident'
Israeli soldier, 28, stabbed to death at Tapuach junction by Palestinian police officer.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday condemned what he termed a "stabbing incident" in the West Bank earlier in the day, in which a Palestinian police officer fatally stabbed an Israel Defense Forces soldier.
Ihab Khatib, 28, was a non-commissioned logistics officer in the elite Kfir brigade, from the Druze village of Kfar Maghar. He was stabbed to death by Mahmoud al-Khatib, a member of the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
View West Bank knife attack - Wednesday, February 10, 2010 in a larger map
Fayyad stressed in a statement that the Palestinian Authority will "continue to make every effort to prevent such an event from recurring."
"Such an incident," the Palestinian prime minister said, "undermines national Palestinian objectives, and the Palestinian Authority's commitments."
Fayyad added that the Palestinian people were united behind non-violent resistance against Israeli settlements, Israel's West Bank separation fence and settler violence against Palestinians. "This type of resistance enjoys the full support of the Palestinian Authority, and wide international backing as well."
The Palestinian prime minister warned against being dragged into "violent activities" which have been proven to do "nothing but harm to the highest interests of our people," and called on Palestinians to beware of the consequences of such actions.
The stabbing attack occurred at Tapuach Junction, south of the West Bank city of Nablus.
Initial reports said the victim had been in his jeep, driving from the direction of Ramallah toward Nablus, when he was approached by the attacker, who reached into the vehicle and stabbed Ihab Khatib close to his heart.
The victim tried to flee in his vehicle, which later overturned. He was found by rescue personnel who rushed to the scene.
Yossi Margalit, a security officer from a nearby settlement ran over the attacker, lightly wounding him. He was then arrested, and given medical attention on the spot.
The wounded soldier was transferred to Beilinson Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, where he later died of his wounds.
MK Michael Ben Ari of the rightwing National Union party lashed out the government following the attack, accusing the prime minister of creating circumstances that facilitate attacks.
"[Benjamin] Netanyahu is busy with removing roadblocks and allowing terrorists to move freely, and the consequences are quick to follow," Ben Ari said.
The Yesha council of settlers also blamed the attack on government policy.
"The terror attack at the Tapuach junction is a direct result of [Israel's] gestures toward the Palestinians. The pathetic attempts to bolster Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] and to lure him back to the negotiating table with security concessions, and the transfer of authority over security issues to the Palestinians, from whom the murderer emerged, are once again costing us blood."
Wednesday's attack comes a month after Rabbi Meir Hai, a 40-year-old teacher and father of seven, was killed when gunmen opened fire at his car on the road near the settlement of Einav. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and the Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the January attack.