Attempted terror stabbing thwarted in West Bank settlement

Security forces apprehend a 21-year-old Palestinian attempting to scale Beit El’s fence with a knife, amid ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestinians

Illustrative: Israeli troops near the Beit El checkpoint in the West Bank, on May 15, 2021. (Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli troops near the Beit El checkpoint in the West Bank, on May 15, 2021. (Flash90)

Israeli security personnel thwarted an attempted terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit El on Saturday morning.

A lookout spotted the suspect, a 21-year-old Palestinian man, attempting to climb over the settlement’s fence at around 11 a.m.

The settlement’s security detail and Israel Defense Forces troops responded to the scene.

A settlement guard arrived first while the suspect was still climbing the fence, fired his weapon in the air, and apprehended the suspect, who was carrying a knife.

The suspect was taken by the Shin Bet security service for questioning. He told investigators that he had planned to carry out a terror attack in Beit El, Channel 13 reported.

The suspect came from the West Bank city of Silwad. Israeli forces have arrested suspected terrorists in the town in recent weeks, sparking fighting between troops and locals, in which several Palestinians have been killed. Israeli security forces have been cracking down on suspected terrorists across the West Bank following a spate of deadly attacks in Israel.

Beit El is located north of Jerusalem, near Ramallah.

Palestinians from nearby communities have attempted to attack Beit El multiple times in the past, including in 2019, when a 7-year-old boy was injured by gunfire.

The attempted attack comes amid high tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, typically a period of friction, has brought tens of thousands of Palestinian worshipers to Jerusalem. Ramadan this year coincides with the week-long Jewish Passover holiday and Christianity’s Easter and Good Friday.

Muslim worshipers clashed with Israeli police at the flashpoint Temple Mount on Friday morning, but prayers at the site ended peacefully later in the day. Temple Mount is the holiest site to Jews, and the compound’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest place for Muslims.

In addition to the holiday friction, Israeli troops have been carrying out extensive raids in the West Bank following the deadliest outbreak of terror in Israel in years.

The series of attacks killed 14 people in Israel and at least 15 Palestinians have died in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank.

The Israeli military lifted a closure on border crossings into Israel from the Palestinian territories just after midnight between Saturday and Sunday. The closure was put in place for the start of Passover on Friday.

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