Israeli Army Says Two Palestinians Killed After Attempted Stabbing

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Scene of stabbing at West Bank's Hawara checkpoint. December 26, 2015.
Scene of stabbing at West Bank's Hawara checkpoint. December 26, 2015. Credit: AFP

The Israel Defense Forces shot and killed two Palestinians they said attempted to stab soldiers at a cross point in the northern West Bank early Saturday morning, a day after a weeklong manhunt for the suspected assailant behind last Friday's shooting in Tel Aviv ended with security forces locating and killing the suspect in northern Israel.

In the early hours of Saturday, the army said that the two Palestinians attempted to stab forces at the Jordan Valley's Hamra (or Beka'ot) checkpoint. The two were initially reported as being wounded, but later succumbed to their wounds; no soldiers were hurt in the attempted attack.

The two were identified by Palestinian medical sources as 23-year-old Muhammed Abu Maryam from Jadida, near Jenin, and Sayed Abu Al-Wapu, 38, from the village of Zawiya near the Palestinian town Salfit.

However, according to Palestinian reports, the two approached the crossing, where food was being distributed, and were shot after being asked to exit their vehicle. A Palestinian taxi driver, who asked not be identified, told Reuters the men did not get out of their vehicle before the soldiers opened fire.

"We were three cars awaiting our turn to cross, the two men who were killed were in the car ahead of mine. The soldiers signaled to them to come forward. When they got there, they opened fire at the car," he said.

A military spokeswoman asked by Reuters about the taxi driver's account said the army was still looking into the incident.

On Friday, Nashat Melhem, the suspected gunman behind the Tel Aviv shooting last week, was shot dead in a firefight with police forces in his hometown of Arara in northern Israel. 

Four Palestinians were killed Thursday after allegedly attempting to stab Israeli soldiers in two separate attacks.

Three were killed after they attempted to stab an IDF force at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank. Meanwhile, an attempted stabbing against another IDF soldier was reported near Hebron, also ending without Israeli causalities. The alleged assailant was also shot dead on the scene. 

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