A Palestinian teen was shot dead after attacking an Israeli soldier with a hammer near the central West Bank village of Beitin shortly after midnight on Thursday, the military said.
Troops were conducting a routine operation in the area when the suspect lunged at the soldier, the Israel Defense Forces said. The soldier opened fire and killed the Palestinian man.
Troops also found a knife on the suspect’s body afterward, the IDF said.
According to an initial probe of the incident, the soldier, a driver, left his comrades to relieve himself at an abandoned military post. The assailant, who was waiting inside the post, attacked him.
“He hit me over the head with a hammer. Think what would have happened if I would have fainted from the hammer — I would have been stabbed and nobody would have known where I was, because I was in the pillbox,” the soldier said in a recording to a friend, published by the Kan public broadcaster.
The soldier suffered only minor injuries to his head and didn’t require hospitalization after receiving treatment at the scene, the IDF said.
במהלך פעילות יזומה שגרתית של כוח צה״ל לפני זמן קצר, סמוך לכפר ביתין שבמרחב החטיבה המרחבית בנימין, חשוד תקף חייל צה״ל בעזרת פטיש. החייל הגיב בירי לעבר החשוד וניטרל אותו. בנוסף, נמצאה על החשוד סכין.
החייל נפצע בפניו וקיבל טיפול רפואי בנקודה pic.twitter.com/LOXxZ6GLRk
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) September 7, 2022
The alleged Palestinian assailant was later named by the Palestinian Authority health ministry as 17-year-old Haitham Hani Mubarak.
تغطية صحفية: "ارتقاء الشاب هيثم هاني مبارك من مدينة رام الله جراء إصابته برصاص الاحتلال عند مدخل قرية بيتين، فجر اليوم" pic.twitter.com/dCc1GSGY3D
— AlQastal القسطل (@AlQastalps) September 8, 2022
The incident came amid a time of rising violence in the West Bank.
IDF troops have repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in the West Bank, during a months-long effort against Palestinian terrorists.
The military launched the operation, dubbed Breakwater, after a series of deadly attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May. More than 1,500 suspects have been detained since the start of the operation.
In raids during the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, troops arrested 11 wanted Palestinians, the IDF said.
A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group published a video of its members setting off an explosive device against an Israeli military jeep in Jenin.
The IDF reported no injuries in the incident.
???? متابعة صفا| كتيبة جنين تنشر مشاهد من استهداف جيب عسكري بعبوة ناسفة بشكل مباشر خلال اقتحام قوات الاحتلال لمنطقة الهدف pic.twitter.com/0Wb7SOd6K8
— وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) September 8, 2022
Meanwhile, at least 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year, according to a tally from the Palestinian Authority health ministry.
The list included Palestinians who carried out attacks inside Israel, as well as a veteran journalist — Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh, who held US citizenship and whose death was deemed an accident by the IDF on Monday — and teens who violently protested in response to Israel’s nightly military operations in their neighborhoods.