IDF officer lightly injured in West Bank stabbing

Attacker killed by security forces during assault in southern Hebron Hills region, amid clash with troops

A Palestinian youth raises a knife during clashes with Israeli security forces (unseen) in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on October 18, 2015. (AFP/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)
A Palestinian youth raises a knife during clashes with Israeli security forces (unseen) in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on October 18, 2015. (AFP/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)

An IDF officer sustained light injuries after being stabbed by a Palestinian man in the southern West Bank Tuesday morning, in the first attack in over a day.

The stabber was shot and killed during the attack, amid what the army said a “violent riot” in the village of Beit Awwa in the Hebron Hills region.

MDA paramedics treated the injured soldier at the scene for a hand wound. The officer, a company commander in the Givati infantry brigade, was expected to be taken to the hospital for further medical treatment.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry identified the stabber as Adi Hashem al Masalmeh, 24, from Beit Awwa.

During the clashes in the village, just east of the Green Line, security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse rioters, the Hebrew-language Walla news website reported.

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The attack came after Monday saw a rare respite from several weeks of almost daily shooting and stabbing attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, both in the West Bank and throughout Israel.

Dozens have been killed or injured in the attacks.

The last month has also seen a surge in violent clashes in the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli troops.

While many of the attacks have been centered around Jerusalem, the weekend saw a spike in stabbings in and around the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, with three stabbing attacks on Saturday alone.

On Sunday evening Muhanad Alukabi, an Israeli Arab, stabbed to death IDF soldier Omri Levy, 19, stole his firearm, then opened fire on crowds at the Beersheba bus terminal injuring another 11 people. Alukabi was then shot and killed by responding forces after holing up in a bathroom.

The evening attack followed a weekend that saw seven stabbings or stabbing attempts in Jerusalem, Hebron and elsewhere.

The current outbreak of violence was fueled by rumors that Israel was plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and take over the Temple Mount, the holiest site to Jews and the third holiest one to Muslims.

Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying there are no plans to change the status quo between Muslim worshipers and Jewish visitors to the site, and has accused the Palestinians of incitement. Jews can currently visit the religious holy site but are not allowed to pray there.

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