Hundreds of Palestinian protesters in two locations of the West Bank city of Hebron hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces Sunday, following several stabbing attacks that were carried out by Palestinians in the area over the weekend.
The IDF was unable to disperse the riots with nonlethal means, and later fired 0.22 inch Ruger rifle bullets at the “main instigators” of the violent protest, an army spokesperson told The Times of Israel. No injuries were reported at the protest, but the IDF confirmed some demonstrators had been hit by Ruger rifle fire.
In the West Bank city of Tulkarem, about 100 rioters hurled rocks, burning tires and Molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers, who responded with nonlethal dispersal means. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Dozens of Palestinians also burnt tires along the southern part of the Gaza Strip border fence, the Ynet news site reported.
On Saturday night, several Molotov cocktails were thrown near Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, and an explosive device was hurled at an IDF patrol nearby, as violence continued to rock the flashpoint city. No injuries were reported after at least five firebombs were thrown at a military checkpoint next to the pilgrimage site, according to media reports.
The attack came days after Palestinian rioters set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in the Palestinian city of Nablus, seriously damaging the biblical pilgrimage site revered by Jews and Muslims and drawing wide condemnation.
An IDF patrol in the Hebron Hills outside the city also came under fire Saturday night from an improvised explosive device. There were no injuries reported in that attack.
According to an unconfirmed report by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, a large group of settlers on Saturday night threw stones and firebombs at Palestinian homes in the West Bank villages of Wad al-Haseen and Wad al-Nasara, both near Hebron, injuring at least three. The report further stated that the IDF later opened fire at a Palestinian in one of the villages, injuring him. The account was disputed by the IDF, which said it had not received any reports of injuries from live fire in the area.
The incidents came after a particularly bloody weekend in Hebron, which is split between a Jewish community and a muchlarger Palestinian population and has become a center of Israeli-Palestinian tensions. An Israeli soldier suffered light-to-moderate wounds when he was stabbed by a Palestinian boy, 16.
The attacker was shot and evacuated to an Israeli hospital in serious condition, according to Israel Radio. Other Hebrew-language news outlets reported the attacker died of his injuries after arriving at the hospital. Jewish residents of Hebron briefly blocked access for the military ambulance that was evacuating the Palestinian stabber, puncturing one of the wheels on the vehicle.
Saturday morning saw two separate stabbing attempts by Palestinians. In the first incident, a Palestinian man, 18, was shot dead as he tried to stab an Israeli civilian in a Jewish neighborhood, police said.
Hours later, a Palestinian girl, 16, was shot dead as she knifed a border policewoman near the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The policewoman suffered light wounds to her hands.
On Friday, a Palestinian man posing as a press photographer stabbed an Israeli soldier in the same area, moderately wounding him. The attacker was shot dead by security forces at the scene.
Saturday also saw attempted stabbings against Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside the capital. The attackers in both incidents were killed. There were no reported injuries in either attempt.
Since October 1, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens injured in 30 separate stabbing or attempted stabbing attacks by Palestinian assailants. On the Palestinian side, 40 have been killed so far, including 18 attackers. The rest died in clashes with IDF troops either in the West Bank or along the Gaza border. Two of the casualties, a pregnant woman and her two-year-old daughter, were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on October 11, which came in response to an earlier Gaza rocket attack at Israel.
Judah Ari Gross, Adiv Sterman, and AFP contributed to this report.