Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian woman brandishing a knife who tried to carry out a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion Junction in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.
The incident came amid rising tensions over the postponement of Palestinian elections, as well as unrest surrounding the holy month of Ramadan.
The woman, a 60-year-old resident of the nearby village of Husan, approached a group of soldiers with a knife in her hand and tried to stab the troops, the military said.
Palestinian media later identified the 60-year-old woman as Fahima al-Hroub.
One of the soldiers shot her in the upper body, and she was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition, where she was later pronounced dead, the hospital said.
There were no casualties among the soldiers, according to the IDF.
Footage of the incident showed al-Hroub continuing to walk toward the soldiers even as they shouted at her repeatedly to stop and fired warning shots in the air.
כך נראה הבוקר ניסיון פיגוע הדקירה בצומת הגוש. הכוח ביצע נוהל מעצר חשוד, ומשהמחבלת לא הקשיבה, ירו באוויר ואז לעבר רגליה. אף אחד מהחיילים לא נפגע ב"ה. pic.twitter.com/tj0QyzT1Ec
— אלעד הוּמינר ???????? العاد هومينر (@EladHumi) May 2, 2021
An IDF statement said: “A terrorist armed with a knife arrived at the Gush Etzion Junction and tried to stab IDF fighters who were at the spot. A fighter initiated rules of engagement protocol that included gunshots toward the terrorist, who was neutralized.”
The Gush Etzion Junction has been the scene of many Palestinian attacks in recent years, most recently on January 31, when Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man who attempted to stab a soldier with a makeshift spear.
On Friday, police said a Palestinian man tried to carry out a stabbing attack near the Efrat junction, south of Bethlehem — several kilometers from the Gush Etzion Junction — and was shot by an officer on the scene and seriously injured.
Tensions in Jerusalem, specifically around its Old City, were high in recent days after police prevented people from congregating outside Damascus Gate during Ramadan, which critics said was an inflammatory move that obstructed a long-held tradition of gathering at the site during the holy month. Authorities later canceled the policy.
Additionally, in the West Bank over the past week, hundreds of Palestinians have marched toward Israeli checkpoints on a nightly basis, leading to clashes.
The IDF is said to have also bolstered its forces in the West Bank during the month of Ramadan, in case of violence stemming from the postponement of Palestinian elections.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Thursday night that the first Palestinian national elections in 15 years would be indefinitely delayed, a move likely to instigate further tensions in the region.
The vote would be postponed until Israel agreed to allow East Jerusalem Palestinians to participate, Abbas told a conference of senior Palestinian officials.
The Palestinians had been scheduled to vote for the Palestinian Legislative Council on May 22, for the first time since 2006. A presidential election was set to follow on July 31, for the first time since 2005.