2 Palestinians try to stab soldiers, are shot — IDF
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2 Palestinians try to stab soldiers, are shot — IDF

Locals reject army’s account, pointing out that if farmers had really tried to attack soldiers they would not have been allowed to check themselves into a hospital

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: IDF forces on the scene of a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on January 18, 2020. (IDF Spokesperson's Office)
Illustrative: IDF forces on the scene of a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on January 18, 2020. (IDF Spokesperson's Office)

Two Palestinian men were shot Monday in the West Bank, with the Israel Defense Forces saying they had attempted a stabbing attack and locals insisting it was an unprovoked shooting by the soldiers.

The suspects tried to stab a group of soldiers operating outside the Havat Amichai outpost near the Shiloh settlement, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The soldiers then opened fire at the two, hitting them, according to the army, adding that no soldiers were injured in the incident.

“From what we understand, they were injured and took themselves to a hospital in Ramallah,” an army spokesperson said.

Asked why the alleged attackers were allowed to check themselves into a hospital if they had just tried to carry out a stabbing attack, an IDF spokeswoman declined to comment.

Nidal Rabi, a resident of the nearby Palestinian village Turmusaya, who had been at the scene both before and immediately after the incident took place, denied the army’s characterization of it as an attempted stabbing.

Speaking to The Times of Israel, he said the two men were brothers, farmers from the nearby al-Mughayyir village, who had been working in their wheat fields along with several other relatives when a group of settlers arrived at the scene accompanied by soldiers and ordered them to leave.

“One of the farmers had a sickle in his hand, but he did not attack the soldiers,” Rabi said. “Nonetheless, he was shot in the stomach and the other farmer was shot in the leg.”

A local activist, Kathem Haj Mohammad, told the Wafa official Palestinian Authority news site that the IDF soldiers shot tear-gas at the villagers who came to the aid of the injured shepherds.

The man who had been shot in the leg was undergoing surgery at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, while his brother, who had been shot in the stomach, did not require an operation, Rabi said.

He added that the incident took place in Area B, and that settlers shouldn’t have been allowed to operate there in the first place. According to the Oslo Accords, Area B is under Palestinian civilian control and Israeli security control.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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