Palestinian Shot Dead After Attempting to Stab Israeli Security Guard in West Bank

Incident prompts closure of key checkpoint as Kerry and Abbas meet in bid to restore calm.

Crossings Authority, Ministry of Defense

A Palestinian was shot dead Saturday after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli security guard at a checkpoint north of Jenin in the West Bank. No one was wounded in the attack at the Jalamah crossing, which took place as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan in an attempt to restore the calm.

An initial investigation into the incident indicated that the assailant, a 16-year-old Palestinian, arrived at the Jalamah crossing early Saturday morning, pretending to sell chocolates to people in the dozens of vehicles waiting to cross in the direction of Israel.

When he got close to the checkpoint, he dropped the box of chocolates, pulled out a knife and rushed towards the Defense Ministry security personnel stationed there.

A security guard identified the Palestinian running towards him through the cars and shot him at short distance.

"We have practiced that scenario and others many times recently due to the ongoing security situation," said Brig. Gen. (res) Kamil Abu Rukun, head of the crossings authority in the Defense Ministry. "The security personal acted exactly as was expected of them."

AFP

He added that the crossing at which the incident occurred is used primarily on weekends, when thousands of Israeli vehicles cross to do business in Jenin.

"The attempted attack affects first and foremost the Palestinians and their economy."

The checkpoint has been closed to traffic following the incident.

Palestinian news agency Ma'an named the victim as Mohammed Zakarneh of Qabatiyah, a town south of Jenin. Palestinian Red Crescent noted that he was shot at least five times and that security forces prevented medics from reaching his body.

The suspected attack is just the latest in a round of violence that began in mid-September, and followed two incidents on Friday, that saw five Israelis wounded in the West Bank, including a 4-year-old girl.

Clashes also broke out between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in several areas in the West Bank and on the Gaza border Friday. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded by gunfire and tear gas fired by Israeli forces, according to Israeli and Palestinian figures, with one reportedly being killed in Gaza.

In the past five weeks, 10 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, while 49 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 28 said by Israel to be attackers and the rest in clashes.