Soldiers foil stabbing at Kiryat Arba bus stop — army

Palestinian teenager shot, seriously wounded as he tries to attack Israelis outside West Bank settlement

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

File: Border Police officers at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack near the entrance to the Kiryat Arba settlement, September 23, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
File: Border Police officers at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack near the entrance to the Kiryat Arba settlement, September 23, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

A Palestinian teenager on Friday attempted to stab Israelis outside the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba before he was shot by Israeli security forces, the army said.

No Israelis were injured in the attack. The assailant — 14 years old according to Palestinian media — was shot and wounded. He received treatment on the scene, before being taken by military ambulance to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for further medical care, the army said.

The assailant suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and chest. He was in serious condition, unconscious and on a ventilator, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.

Soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces’ Nahal Brigade, who were guarding the area, shot the Palestinian teenager — who was not immediately identified — as he approached the bus stop from an adjacent orchard, according to initial reports.

It was not immediately clear if he intended to attack civilians or security forces; both were in the area.

A photo from the scene appeared to show the assailant wounded on the ground near some bushes several meters behind the Elias Junction.

There were unconfirmed reports of a second Palestinian suspect who was detained at the scene. An army spokesperson said the details of the incident were still being investigated.

The attempted attack took place at the same junction where, last Friday, two Palestinians rammed their car into a bus stop before security forces shot them. Three Israeli teenagers were lightly hurt as they ran to escape that attack.

The assault was the 10th such attack in under a week, with the vast majority occurring in Jerusalem and the Hebron area, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers and Israeli troops.

The renewed surge in attacks 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.

On Tuesday morning, a Palestinian teenager was shot and killed while attempting a stabbing attack on an IDF soldier near Bani Na’im, outside of Hebron, the army said, marking the fifth straight day of attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem. During a search at a checkpoint, the assailant “tried to stab a soldier,” but did not injure him, according to the IDF.

“The assailant was shot by the forces and killed,” the army said in a statement. The Palestinian health ministry identified him as Issa Salem Tarayrah, 16.

On Monday night, a group of IDF soldiers in Hebron arrested a Palestinian man who tried to stab one of them, the army said.

The soldiers spotted the man during a patrol in the Abu Sneina neighborhood of the city, and asked him to identify himself. He then “attempted to stab an IDF soldier,” but missed, the army said. The man was then taken into custody.

“The soldier foiled the attack and subdued the assailant without use of fire,” the IDF said in a statement.

Earlier on Monday, two Hebron residents tried to stab a group of border guards near the city’s Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site before they were shot, according to police.

Officials fear the upcoming Jewish holidays and the recently ended Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday could be behind the raised tensions.

The holiday and the month of September “are always more susceptible to spikes in violent Palestinian activities,” a military official, speaking anonymously, said last week.

“The motivation and inspiration to carry out attacks against Israelis remains strong,” the official said.

In the past year, Israel saw a wave of so-called “lone-wolf” Palestinian terror attacks, which has claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since October 2015. Over 200 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.

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