Israeli soldier killed in 'car attack' near Ramallah

Palestinian man from Silwad shot and detained after he allegedly ran over two soldiers outside the Ofra settlement.

    The alleged attack took place near the Jewish-only settlement of Ofra in the occupied West Bank [Reuters]
    The alleged attack took place near the Jewish-only settlement of Ofra in the occupied West Bank [Reuters]

    A Palestinian man was shot and detained on Thursday after carrying out an alleged car-ramming attack near a settlement in the occupied West Bank, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding another. 

    The driver, identified as 23-year-old Ahmad Moussa Hamed, ploughed into two Israeli soldiers standing behind concrete barriers near a bus stop outside the Ofra settlement near Ramallah. 

    Elichai Taherlev, 20, of the Golani Brigade was killed in the incident, and another 19-year-old soldier was lightly injured. 

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    Shortly after the attack, Israeli forces raided Hamad's home in the village of Silwad near Ramallah.

    Israeli authorities also froze work permits belonging to Hamad's family members that allowed allowed them to work in Israel, Israeli media reported.

    The Hamas movement released statements praising the apparent attack.

    Hamas spokesperson Abed al-Latif al-Qanou said it was a response to the "continuous Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinians".

    Speaking to Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency, Hazem Qassem, another Hamas spokesman, called it "evidence that the Intifada of Jerusalem will go on, and it would only end with liberty and freedom".

    Qassem's use of to the term "Intifada of Jerusalem" refers to the wave of violence that has spread throughout the occupied territories and Israel since October 2015, which has claimed the lives of 259 Palestinians, 41 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese, according to a count by AFP news agency.

    Qassem added the "attack proved that the Israeli army and settlers are not secure as long as [Palestinian] rights are denied, our land occupied and our people and holy sites assaulted and violated".

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    The Thursday morning attack was the first fatal assault on Israelis since January 8, when a Palestinian killed four soldiers in a Jerusalem truck-ramming attack.

    On Saturday, Israeli police shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian man who stabbed two civilians and a border officer in Jerusalem.

    The slain Palestinian was identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Amad Zahir Fathi Ghazal, 17, from Nablus. 

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    Witnesses told local media at the time they found more than 25 bullet holes in Ghazal's apartment, and accused Israeli forces of "executing" him when they could have easily detained him. 

    Israeli forces also shot and killed a middle-aged Palestinian woman last week in the Old City of Jerusalem after she allegedly tried to stab a police officer with a pair of scissors. 

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain woman as 49-year-old Siham Nimr of East Jerusalem. Her son, 27-year-old Mustafa Nimr, was shot and killed by Israeli border police in September as he drove by clashes outside the Shuafat refugee camp. 

    While violence has somewhat subsided in recent months, there are fears the upcoming week-long Passover holiday will lead to a fresh outbreak of tensions, particularly if there is an increase in Jewish visitors to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

    The site is holy to both Muslims and Jews and is located in occupied East Jerusalem.

    Tensions regularly flare over the site, as Palestinians fear Israel seeks to assert further control over the area.

    A village under occupation

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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