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Israeli soldiers shoot dead Palestinian woman near Jerusalem

The Israeli army claims that Mai Afana, 29, was shot as she attempted to ram her car into a number of soldiers
Palestinian woman car israeli soldiers AFP
Israeli forces inspect a car in the West Bank village of Hizma on 16 June 2021, after soldiers shot dead a Palestinian woman they said had attempted to ram her car into soldiers and attack them with a knife (AFP)

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian woman in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the army and Palestinian health ministry said.

The official Palestinian news website Wafa identified the victim as 29-year-old Mai Afana, from the town of Abu Dis near occupied East Jerusalem.

In a statement on Twitter, the Israeli military claimed that Afana “attempted to ram into a number of IDF soldiers, exited her vehicle with a knife drawn and was neutralised in response” near the Palestinian village of Hizma, northwest of Jerusalem.

One soldier was lightly injured in the incident, it added.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed that the woman had died of her wounds.

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“The Palestinian civil liaison informed the health ministry of the death of a woman shot by [Israeli forces] in Hizma,” it said in a statement, citing the body that coordinates with Israel on military and civilian issues concerning the occupied West Bank.

The incident is the latest flare-up in violence amid high tensions over Israel’s planned forcible expulsion of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Early on Wednesday, Israel carried out air strikes targeting Hamas military compounds in the besieged Gaza Strip after people in the Palestinian territory launched incendiary balloons towards southern Israel.

Potentially shattering a fragile ceasefire that came into effect last month following 11 days of heavy fighting, in which Israel pummeled Gaza, the air strikes took place after a provocative nationalist march through occupied East Jerusalem's Old City by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the Palestinian movement which governs Gaza.

The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to the launching of the balloons, which reportedly caused 20 fires in open fields near the Gaza border, Haaretz reported.

Between 10 and 21 May, Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, according to Gaza's health ministry.

In Israel, 13 people were killed in the fighting, including a soldier, by rockets and missiles fired from Gaza, the police and army said.