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Palestinian shot dead after allegedly ramming Israeli forces

Palestinian man killed after allegedly driving into Israeli forces at the Hawwara military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank
The crash scene on Highway 60 at the Huwwara checkpoint, 31 December (AFP)

A Palestinian was shot and killed after he allegedly drove his car into Israeli forces near a military checkpoint in the north of the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the Israeli army said.

The Palestinian, who has not been identified, allegedly rammed into Israeli soldiers stationed on Highway 60 at the Huwwara checkpoint, near Nablus, the army said. One soldier, also unidentified, was lightly wounded.

"The assailant was shot by forces on site, resulting in his death," the army statement said.

Highway 60 is used by Palestinians and Israelis living in illegal West Bank settlements. The Huwwara area, according to Maan News, has been a site of repeated confrontations between Palestinians, Israeli soldiers and settlers since the increase in Palestinian-Israeli violence over the past few months.

Since the violence erupted at the start of October, 137 Palestinians, 20 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean have been killed, according to an AFP count.

During that same period more than 15,000 Palestinians and 350 Israelis were wounded, the UN said on Wednesday.

The majority of the Palestinians were killed while allegedly carrying out attacks on Israeli security forces or civilians.

Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem said earlier this month that in several cases, the use of lethal gunfire - including the killing of alleged assailants after they no longer posed danger or were lying motionless on the ground - has been excessive.

"This reality is a direct result of inflammatory language used by ministers and elected officials," said B'Tselem in a statement which appealed to Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu to address the issue.

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