Three Palestinians Die, One Israeli Girl Wounded in Firebomb Attack in Weekend Clashes

At least 95 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition and plastic-tipped rounds in the West Bank and Gaza on Friday, the Palestinians say.

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An Israeli borderguard fires rubber bullets towards Palestinian protesters during clashes in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh, on the northern outskirts of Ramallah on October 23, 2015.
An Israeli borderguard fires rubber bullets towards Palestinian protesters during clashes in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh, on the northern outskirts of Ramallah on October 23, 2015. Credit: AFP

Two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces over the weekend, Palestinian sources said, while an Israeli girl suffered burns on 35 percent of her body after a firebomb was thrown at the car she was riding in.

Also over the weekend, a Palestinian died of wounds sustained Thursday, while a Bedouin tracker in the Israel Defense Forces was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank. The assailant was shot and wounded, as serious clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians enter their fourth week.

At least 95 Palestinians were wounded by live ammunition and plastic-tipped rounds in clashes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Friday, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent and the health ministry of the Hamas government in Gaza.

The Palestinian man who was seriously wounded during a demonstration near the Gaza-Israel border Thursday died of his wounds, the Palestinian news service Ma’an reported Saturday.

The death of Khalil Hassan Abu Obeid, 25, brought to 17 the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli forces this month.

A Palestinian was shot dead Saturday morning at a checkpoint north of Jenin in the West Bank after he tried to stab an Israeli security guard, the Israeli authorities said. There were no other casualties.

According to an initial investigation, the 16-year-old assailant went to the crossing early in the morning, pretending to sell chocolates to passengers in the dozens of vehicles waiting to cross into Israel.

When he reached the checkpoint, he dropped the chocolates, pulled out a knife and rushed the Israeli guards, one of whom shot him at close range.

“We have practiced that scenario and others many times recently due to the ongoing security situation,” said Brig. Gen. (res.) Camil Abu Rukun, the Defense Ministry official in charge of the crossings.

“The security personnel did exactly what was expected of them,” Abu Rukun said, adding that the Jalamah crossing, where the incident occurred, is used mainly on weekends, when thousands of Israelis drive to Jenin for shopping and business.

“The attempted attack affects first and foremost the Palestinians and their economy,” Abu Rukun said. The checkpoint was closed to traffic after the incident.

Ma’an named the deceased as Mohammed Zakarneh of Qabatiyah, a town south of Jenin. The Palestinian Red Crescent said he was shot at least five times and that Israeli forces prevented medics from reaching his body.

Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon a 4-year-old Israeli girl was badly burned by a firebomb hurled at her family’s car near the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Her parents and two siblings suffered minor burns.

The family was driving down Route 60 when the firebomb was thrown at the car, presumably by Palestinians. The five were rushed to Hadassah University Hospital Ein Karem, in Jerusalem.

Also on Friday, the Israel Defense Forces said around 600 Gazans had gathered in various areas along the border with Israel, throwing rocks over the fence and burning tires. Israeli troops responded first with tear gas and then with live fire.

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded by gunfire and tear gas fired by Israeli forces, according to Israeli and Palestinian spokespeople. According to Palestinian reports, one person was killed.

In the West Bank, clashes broke out in or around Hebron, El Bireh, Beit Ummar and at Rachel’s Tomb at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.

Palestinians set tires on fire and threw stones and firebombs, the IDF said. Two members of the Border Police were hurt in the clashes.

On Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 13-year-old boy was hit in the stomach by a bullet in a clash in El Bireh, not far from the Beit El settlement. He was rushed to a Ramallah hospital in serious condition, a report the IDF said it was investigating.

Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, had called for so-called Day of Rage rallies after Friday prayers, but protests were less intense than in previous weeks.

“By the blood of their sons, Jerusalem and the West Bank will write the end of the occupation,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Rudwan said Friday.

Early Friday, a 20-year-old Bedouin tracker in the IDF was lightly wounded when a Palestinian stabbed him near the separation barrier in Gush Etzion in the West Bank. Other soldiers shot and wounded the assailant. The wounded soldier, who was admitted to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, was not identified.

The IDF said the incident occurred near the separation barrier during a routine patrol, when the tracker opened a gate so that Palestinian farmers could access their olive trees.

Of the 17 Gazan fatalities in October, 15 stemmed from shootings with live ammunition in clashes with Israeli security forces. In another incident, a 2-year-old girl and her pregnant mother died in an Israeli airstrike on their home.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of Gazans killed or wounded in the third week of October was the highest since the end of the Gaza war in the summer of 2014.

Reporting by Gili Cohen, Jack Khoury, Noa Shpigel, Chaim Levinson, Almog Ben Zikri and Reuters

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