Palestinian posing as journalist stabs IDF soldier in Hebron

Victim moderately injured in attack, assailant shot dead; Foreign Press Association condemns ‘worrying development’

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A Palestinian man posing as a journalist stabbed a soldier, moderately wounding him before being shot dead by IDF forces outside Hebron on October 16, 2015. (screenshot: Quds TV)
A Palestinian man posing as a journalist stabbed a soldier, moderately wounding him before being shot dead by IDF forces outside Hebron on October 16, 2015. (screenshot: Quds TV)

An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded in a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron on Friday.

The Palestinian attacker posed as a photojournalist, and was wearing a yellow “press” vest at the time of the attack, according to the IDF.

The attacker was shot dead by soldiers at the scene.

Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated the 20-year-old soldier to Jerusalem’s Shaare Tzedek Medical Center with stab wounds to his back and arm.

The attack took place near the Zayit Checkpoint on Route 35 outside the settlement of Telem.

Footage showing the aftermath of the latest terror attack, reportedly filmed by a Hamas-affiliated TV crew, was uploaded to social media outlets shortly after the incident.

“The Palestinian assailant disguised himself as a news photographer and attacked the soldier, wounding him moderately. The soldier was evacuated for emergency medical care. Forces on site responded to the threat, shot the attacker, resulting in his death,” the IDF said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The Foreign Press Association condemned the incident as a “worrying development” and called on all “Palestinian media organizations to immediately verify all media credentials.”

“We utterly deplore this violation of press privilege and call on local Palestinian media organizations to immediately verify all media credentials to ensure there are no violations,” the FPA said in the statement.

“This attack was carried out by someone posing as a local Palestinian journalist. All the same, it marks a worrying development that demands that all media operate with heightened caution in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This incident is also clearly of grave concern to the Israeli security forces. As the FPA, we try to work closely with the IDF and the Border Police to ensure coordination is clear and that all dangers are minimized. We urge the continuation of that cooperation and coordination to avoid any attack like this happening again in the future,” it said.

Jerusalem and the West Bank are in the throes of an upsurge in violence in recent weeks that has seen eight Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian terrorists, including in a spate of stabbing attacks. At least 18 Palestinians have been killed in clashes since the beginning of the month.

After another week of deadly attacks and clashes with Palestinians across the country and in the West Bank, Israel beefed up its security presence Friday in preparation for an outbreak of fresh violence.

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Amid the mounting unrest, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to incite violence against Israelis.

“There’s no excuse for the violence,” Kerry told NPR News, which released extracts of a radio interview due to air Friday as the US diplomatic chief flies to Europe.

“No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand,” he said.

“President Abbas has been committed to non-violence. He needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly,” Kerry added. “And he needs to not engage in some of the incitement that his voice has sometimes been heard to encourage. So that has to stop.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Abbas of inciting to violence by calling for protests against Israel. At the UN last month, Abbas accused Israel of sending “extremists” into Al-Aqsa Mosque. On Wednesday, he alleged Israel was executing Palestinians in cold blood, and cited as an example a Palestinian teenager who had in fact perpetrated a terror attack, was alive, and was being treated in an Israeli hospital.

Kerry said he plans to travel to the region “in the coming days,” as the Israeli media reports that a summit between Netanyahu and Abbas in Jordan could be on the cards.

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