(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST,JPOST STAFF)
A soldier on Tuesday morning shot and killed a Palestinian teenager who tried to stab him at a checkpoint leading into Bani Naim, near Kiryat Arba.
The attacker was identified as 16-year-old Essa Salim al-Taraira.
This attack follows an incident in which a Palestinian assailant tried to stab a soldier near the Abu Sneina neighborhood of Hebron. The soldier was able to disarm the assailant and arrest him. Neither soldier was inured.
The attacks are part of a sudden spike in Palestinian violence, with 11 attacks occurring since Friday, seven of which were in Hebron or in the area of the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba.
The army has sent an additional infantry battalion to that area. On Tuesday, IDF units entered Abu Sneina to conduct searches and uncovered a lathe used to produce firearms, commando knives, bullets and other military equipment.
Soldiers also arrested three suspects – a total of 27 were arrested in overnight raids across the West Bank – and took them in for questioning In Bani Naim, residents immediately elevated Taraira to the status of martyr. Photos of a smiling teen with sunglasses were immediately distributed on social media.
The village’s mayor, Mahmoud Manasra, said he did not believe that Taraira had a knife on him.
“As you know, the Israeli claim is that there was a stabbing attempt, but all of the eyewitnesses say that the young boy descended from a bus near the checkpoint, where an inspection was taking place. I think the incident could have been avoided if it was handled properly,” Manasra said.
He said that he went to the checkpoint immediately upon hearing about the incident, but that the IDF prevented villagers from approaching the body, which the Israeli army is now holding.
“The Red Crescent was able to see the body. We are calling on Israel to return to the body for burial,” Manasra said.
Israel has intermittently withheld the bodies of Palestinian terrorists, rather than returning them to their families for burial.
The bodies of five other Palestinians who were killed by Israeli security forces while in the midst of executing attacks, have also been withheld.
The attempted stabbing on Tuesday was the second attack by Palestinian teenagers from Bani Naim.
On Friday, Firas Khdour and his cousin Raghd, both 17, carried out a vehicular terrorist attack that lightly wounded three Israeli teens at the entrance of Kiryat Arba.
Israeli soldiers killed Khdour and seriously wounded Raghd, who was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Bani Naim, a village of some 30,000 people located off Route 60, has been caught in the crosshairs of the violence over the past year. A resident of that village, Muhammad Taraira, 17, carried out a stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba in June, killing 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her sleep. Majd Khdour, a cousin of the perpetrators of Friday’s attack, rammed her car into another car near the entrance to Kiryat Arba, also in June Early Tuesday morning, at the Dehaishe refugee camp near Bethlehem, soldiers clashed with Palestinian rioters hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks. Soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.
One soldier suffered burns from a firebomb, and the second suffered from smoke inhalation. The first soldier has been hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while the second was briefly hospitalized at the same hospital.
On Monday night, according to Ynet, a bus driver was lightly injured when stones where thrown at his vehicle in Jerusalem’s Israeli-Arab neighborhood of Wadi Joz.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the capital remains on high alert to prevent future attacks. “Things are relatively calm and quiet and security measures continue [to be taken], with police patrolling in and around Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the Old City,” he said.Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.