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Palestinian minor arrested with knife, firebombs near Israeli base in West Bank

Suspect, said to be aged 12, caught approaching Border Police post in Jordan Valley; admitted to plotting attack on security forces

Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers walking past Palestinian flags near the West Bank city of Jericho. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers walking past Palestinian flags near the West Bank city of Jericho. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Israeli security forces on Sunday evening thwarted a stabbing and firebombing attack by a Palestinian minor, who was arrested near a Border Police base in the West Bank, a spokesperson for Israel Police said.

The youth was caught approaching a Border Police base in the Jericho area, carrying a knife, two Molotov cocktails and a small Palestinian flag, the police said in a statement. The base is also located next to the settlement of Vered Yericho.

The police statement said the boy admitted to planning an attack on Israeli security forces. Reports in Hebrew-language media said the suspect was 12 years old.

The incident comes amid a surge in attacks in recent days after nearly a month-long lull in violence.

Firebombs, a knife and flag found on a Palestinian boy suspected of planning an attack in the West Bank on September 18, 2016. (Police)
Firebombs, a knife and flag found on a Palestinian boy suspected of planning an attack in the West Bank on September 18, 2016. (Police)

The six attacks over the weekend — four stabbings, a car ramming and a rock throwing — caught many Israelis by surprise, as the violence that marked 2015 and early 2016 appeared to have waned in recent months, and raised fears that regular attacks could return.

Earlier Sunday, an Israeli officer was stabbed and moderately injured in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. The attacker, identified as Baha a-Din Muhammad Khalil, was shot immediately after stabbing the victim and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment, the army said.

On Saturday morning, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron, while there were four attacks against Israelis on Friday.

On Friday morning, a Jordanian national was shot and killed as he attempted to stab a Border Police officer at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Less than an hour later, a soldier shot and killed a Palestinian man and seriously wounded a Palestinian woman who allegedly carried out a car-ramming attack outside the Kiryat Arba settlement next to Hebron.

On Friday afternoon, a bus driver was also lightly wounded when unidentified perpetrators threw rocks and glass bottles full of paint at his vehicle on the highway between Jerusalem and the Ma’ale Adumim settlement. Finally on Friday evening, a soldier was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in Hebron. The assailant was shot and killed by forces at the Gilbert checkpoint near the Tel Rumeida neighborhood.

Israeli soldiers and security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron, September 17, 2016 (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers and security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron, September 17, 2016 (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

In the past year, Israel saw a wave of so-called “lone wolf” Palestinian terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since October 2015. Some 227 Palestinians have also been killed in the past year, with the Israeli army and police saying that most of those killed were attackers or involved in clashes with security forces.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was boosting security ahead of the upcoming Jewish High Holidays “in order to ensure that we will be ready to defend our people during this sensitive period.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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