Jerusalem, Feb 15: Five Palestinians have been killed attempting to attack Israelis in a string of attacks across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
They were the latest in a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming assaults that erupted in October and came as US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power visited Israel and the Palestinian territories for talks with leaders from both sides.
In the first incident, two 15-year-olds attacked an Israeli patrol west of the city of Jenin with rocks before firing on soldiers with a rifle, an army statement said yesterday. "The force responded to the shooting and fired towards the attackers, resulting in their deaths," it said.
The Palestinian health ministry named those killed as Nihad Waked and Fuad Waked. They were not thought to be closely related. Later in the day, a Palestinian tried to stab Israeli border police between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank before being shot dead, Israeli authorities said. The Palestinian health ministry identified the assailant as Naim Safi, 17, who was from a village near Bethlehem.
Also yesterday, a young Palestinian woman tried to stab an Israeli policeman but was shot in the attempt in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli police said. She was taken to hospital in critical condition. Police said the attacker drew a knife on a border police officer at a checkpoint and the officer, who was unharmed, shot her. She was identified as Yasmin al-Zaru, 20.
The incident took place close to the shared religious site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. Tensions are high at the site - a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead in a stabbing attempt there on Saturday. Late yesterday violence also flared in central Jerusalem when two armed Palestinians attacked Israeli police just outside the Old City walls before being shot dead by officers, police told AFP.
A police statement later said that one was spotted carrying a bag in a way that made officers suspicious and when they ordered him to drop it he pulled out a weapon and took aim, but was shot dead before he could pull the trigger. A second gunman then opened fire but was killed by police without wounding any officers, it said.