Palestinian man shot dead after attacking an Israeli soldier

Israeli soldier Palestinian man

A Palestinian man who attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife was shot dead Saturday by Israeli soldiers in the north of the occupied West Bank, said the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Israeli police.

Another attack occurred earlier in the day in the West Bank; another Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli soldier, wounding him slightly, before being himself wounded by Israeli soldiers.

The assailant stabbed the officer, said the Israeli army, and the forces on site immediately responded with gunfire. The assailant was killed, said a spokesman of the Israeli police.

For his part, the head of the Red Crescent Society  in Nablus, Abdelhalim Jaafreh, told journalists that the man was fatally hit by five bullets and that doctors at the hospital had done nothing to save him.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas identified the man as Rafic Taj, 21, while sources had earlier reported a 16-year-old teenager called Ahmed Mahal.

Mr Abbas condemned in a statement what he called murder by the occupation forces. He also denounced a dangerous escalation of violence and called on the international community not to remain silent.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian man had attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife before being wounded by military gunfire near a check point installed on a motorway through the occupied West Bank, the army said.

The assailant and the soldier were both slightly injured, the military added.

The attack took place southwest of Ramallah on the busy Highway 443, connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv through the West Bank.

Attacks against soldiers, settlers and Israeli civilians by Palestinians, isolated and often with a knife, have multiplied in recent months across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli army killed fifteen Palestinians in the West Bank, according to a statement from the UN. Some were attacking Israelis, while others were killed by bullets fired by the army during demonstrations or clashes.

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