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IDF: Palestinian attempts to stab troops near Hebron, is shot

No soldiers hurt; attempted attack comes amid uptick in West Bank violence in recent weeks

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

A Palestinian man attempted to stab soldiers outside a refugee camp near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday morning, the military said.

Troops at the scene opened fire at the suspect, injuring him. His condition was not immediately known.

No Israeli soldiers were injured in the attack, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The attempted stabbing occurred outside the al-Fawwar refugee camp southwest of Hebron.

Footage of the incident was quickly shared on Palestinian social media, showing the moments just before the suspect was shot.

In the video (above), the man can be seen holding what appears to be a knife while surrounded by soldiers armed with guns. The view of the incident is then obstructed as the sound of gunshots are heard.

“The assailant arrived to the scene in a car, got out of the vehicle and began advancing toward the IDF soldiers with a knife drawn in an attempt to stab the soldiers who were reinforcing the roadways,” the military said in a statement.

“The soldiers called for the assailant to halt and conducted the procedure for arresting a suspect. After he did not adhere to their calls, they fired at him in order to neutralize him,” the IDF said.

The suspect was taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center for treatment.

He was identified by Palestinian officials as a 41-year-old resident of the nearby town of Duma.

The attempted attack came amid an uptick in violence in the West Bank in recent weeks, with an increasing number of rock-throwing attacks and firebombings along highways in the West Bank.

Last Wednesday, a member of the Palestinian Authority’s security services opened fire at troops in the northern West Bank, missing them, before he was shot dead by Israeli forces.

Though not unprecedented, it is highly unusual for members of Palestinian security forces, which often coordinate closely with the IDF and other Israeli defense agencies, to carry out attacks against Israeli troops and civilians.

According to the official Palestinian Authority outlet WAFA, Bilal Adnan Rawajbeh, 29, was a legal adviser with the rank of captain in the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces, one of the PA’s most powerful intelligence organizations.

File: Israeli soldiers stand guard near the scene of an apparent attempted car-ramming attack by the West Bank settlement of Halamish on May 29, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

WAFA accused the Israeli troops of firing at him “at point blank range… while he was passing through the checkpoint.” The PA official news source called his death “an execution.”

The IDF staunchly denied this account, saying Rawajbeh had opened fire at the Golani Brigade soldiers from inside his vehicle at a junction south of Nablus.

“The car with the assailant came from the city, turned left at the roundabout, and opened fire toward the [soldier’s] position. The commander of the troops responded quickly and fired his weapon. Immediately afterward, two soldiers at the bus stop ran over and joined the incident, opening fire at the assailant. The assailant was struck by a number of bullets,” said Lt. Col. Shahar Barkai, the commander of the soldiers’ unit, the Golani Brigade’s Barak Battalion.

The incident came days after Israeli troops opened fire on a Palestinian car after a homemade bomb was thrown from the vehicle at a junction manned by soldiers in the central West Bank, the army said.

“The soldiers blocked the road to stop the terrorist cell. The car accelerated in their direction and the fighters responded by firing at the terrorists,” a statement from the IDF said, adding that the car was hit by bullets.

Palestinian media reported that three people in the car were wounded during the incident, which took place overnight Thursday near the West Bank city of Jenin.

Aaron Boxerman and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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