Skip to main content

Israeli police kill Palestinian in West Bank

Israeli police say an 18-year-old Palestinian 'terrorist' was 'neutralised' after pulling out a knife close to a checkpoint
A soldier walks past the scene of a stabbing attack targeting Israeli soldiers at the West Bank Qalandiya checkpoint (AFP)

Israeli paramilitary police officers in the occupied West Bank shot and killed a Palestinian on Thursday who ran towards them brandishing a knife, police said.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the 18-year-old Palestinian had got off a bus at a main West Bank junction and appeared suspicious to border policemen stationed there. 

"The suspect did not heed their call to stop, continued to move in their direction and at one point whipped out a knife and began running towards them. The forces opened fire at the terrorist," Samri said.

A slightly different testimony from another police spokesperson said the Palestinian had "approached border police suspiciously".

"The border police called upon him to identify himself," spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.

"He continued towards them and then pulled out a knife. Border police responded and the terrorist was neutralised. No injuries to officers at the scene."

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the Palestinian had been killed, but had no further details on his identity.

Local news site Maan named the Palestinian as Mohammed Jihad Hussein Harb. 

In recent months, there has been a significant ebb in what had been near-daily street attacks beginning in October 2015, in which 33 Israelis, two US citizens and an Eritrean have been killed in knife, car-ramming and gun assaults.

Israeli forces have killed at least 230 Palestinians over the past 14 months. Israel says at least 156 of them were assailants. Others died during clashes and protests.

Palestinians have accused Israeli police and soldiers of using excessive force in many cases, saying assailants could have been stopped or detained without being killed. In several cases, Israel has opened investigations.

Israel says one of the main causes of the violence is incitement by the Palestinian leadership, with young men encouraged to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Palestinian leaders say assailants have acted out of desperation, frustrated by the almost 50-year-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and annexation of East Jerusalem, territories which the Palestinians want for their own state.

Israel captured those lands during the 1967 war, and maintains tight restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in some areas, especially West Bank checkpoints that border Israel. The last round of peace talks between the sides collapsed in 2014, with no sign of further progress since.