Three Palestinians have been shot dead in separate attacks after they allegedly tried to stab Israelis in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the latest incidents in a wave of violence that has escalated this month.
In Hebron, a Jewish settler killed a Palestinian man early on Saturday after the Palestinian allegedly tried to stab him. Israeli police said the man was shot dead before he could harm the Israeli.
Witnesses disputed the Israeli police version of the event, saying the incident looked more like an attack by the settler on the Palestinian.
A video circulated by Palestinian activists showed a young man wearing a kippa brandishing a pistol as shots rang out before Israeli soldiers moved in to pull him away from a body lying on the ground.
Palestinian security sources identified the Palestinian as 18-year-old Fadel al-Kawasmeh.
In the second attack, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl was shot dead by Israeli forces after she allegedly attempted to stab a female soldier guarding an illegal Jewish settlement in Hebron.
The soldier suffered minor injuries to her hand, according to an Israeli police spokesperson.
Palestinian media identified the Palestinian girl as Bayan Ahmad Aseeleh.
Israeli police sealed off the city by blocking road access after violent clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces following the killings.
In East Jerusalem, a 16-year-old Palestinian allegedly tried to stab a soldier at a checkpoint at East Talpiot settlement near the Jabal al-Mukaber neighbourhood but was shot dead by other soldiers.
The boy was identified as Moutaz Oweisat.
Jabal al-Mukaber was home to three Palestinians who were killed earlier this week after alleged attacks on Israelis.
Amid tit-for-tat attacks between Israelis and Palestinians, the ongoing streak of violence has left dead at least 42 Palestinians – including suspected attackers, as well as unarmed protesters and bystanders – and seven Israelis.
Israeli security forces have deployed massively in Jerusalem and, on Wednesday, began setting up checkpoints in parts of East Jerusalem, including Jabel Mukaber. But it has failed to stop the violence.
The mounting death toll has prompted speculation about a new Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, like those of 1987-93 and 2000-2005, when thousands were killed in near-daily violence.
Palestinian plea rejected
Saturday’s killings came a day after Israel rejected a Palestinian plea to the United Nations for an international force to police the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
Tensions boiled over into violence earlier this month as Israeli incursions into the al-Aqsa complex – the third holiest site in Islam – gave way to protests and clashes that have consumed much of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
“An international presence on the Temple Mount [al-Aqsa Mosque compound] would violate the status quo of the last several decades,” Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Friday.
“Israel does not think international intervention [in] the Temple Mount would be helpful or contribute to stability,” Danon added.