Palestinian attempts to stab soldier in West Bank, is shot dead

No Israelis reported injured in incident at the Gush Etzion Junction in which assailant tried to attack serviceman with a makeshift spear

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A Palestinian man was shot dead while attempting to stab an Israeli soldier with a makeshift spear at the Gush Etzion Junction in the southern West Bank on Sunday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said.

No Israelis were injured in the incident, Gush Etzion regional council head Shlomo Ne’eman said.

In security camera footage from the scene, the assailant could be seen approaching a bus stop that the soldier was guarding. When he was still several feet away, he took out a weapon and apparently alerted the serviceman to his presence. The soldier, who was armed with a rifle, then turned and shot the would-be stabber.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that the assailant was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

A weapon made up of three knives taped to a broomstick that was used in an attempted stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion Junction in the southern West Bank on January 31, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The weapon was recovered from the scene. It was made up of three knives taped to a broken broomstick, the IDF said.

“I stood at my post at the northern bus stop at the Gush Etzion Junction in order to protect the citizens that were there. I saw the suspect walk along the road and then he suddenly ran at me and the civilians at the scene. I saw that he took out a knife and I shot and neutralized the assailant,” said the soldier, who was only identified by his rank and first Hebrew initial of his name, Cpl. “Ayin.”

“We stay at the ready at all times in order to prevent incidents like this,” said Ayin, who serves in the Nachshon Battalion of the IDF’s Kfir Brigade.

The junction was temporarily closed in all directions following the attack.

Israeli security services have reported cases of apparent suicide-by-soldier, in which Palestinians attempt to carry out attacks in order to be killed by Israeli troops.

A soldiers stationed at the Gush Etzion Junction in the southern West Bank shortly after an attempted stabbing attack on January 31, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Gush Etzion Junction has been the scene of many Palestinian attacks in recent years, most recently on January 5, when Israeli soldiers shot dead a would-be stabber.

The West Bank in general has seen a recent escalation in violence in recent weeks.

Last Tuesday, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man who tried to stab them along a road in the northern West Bank, according to the Israel Defense Forces said.

Much of the escalation has come in the wake of the murder of Esther Horgen, 52, a mother of six, after she went for a run in the Reihan forest near her home in the settlement of Tal Menashe. A Palestinian man suspected of the murder has been arrested.

The West Bank has also seen a notable increase in ultranationalist Israeli violence against Palestinians after 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak was killed in a police chase after allegedly hurling stones at Palestinians in late December.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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