Woman shot dead in Jerusalem as Israel-Palestine violence escalates

In a separate incident, Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian village in occupied West Bank

Israeli police fatally shot a Palestinian woman who tried to stab officers in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces shot dead an armed man who opened fire on them during clashes prompted by an overnight arrest operation.

In a separate incident, Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, throwing stones at cars and homes and injuring several people, including a Palestinian toddler, AP reported.

Video of Tuesday’s attack on the Palestinian village released by an Israeli rights group showed several shirtless settlers with scarves wrapped around their faces hurling stones at a cluster of homes and vehicles.

A four-year-old boy, Mohammed Bakr, was admitted to hospital with a head injury.

Israeli troops stood among the settlers but did not appear to be taking any action to stop them. The Israeli military declined to comment.

Israeli police described it as a “friction incident” and said two Palestinians and a settler were arrested.

It said people were wounded on both sides and that it is still investigating the incident.

In connection with the incident, on Thursday police said officers arrested three people, one of them a minor, suspected of assault and damaging property.

A group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd near the village of Mufaqara and slaughtered four of his sheep, said Sami Hureini, a local Palestinian activist.

They then stormed the village itself, attacking residents with clubs and stones, he said.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released video of the attack and provided a similar account.

It said Israeli troops fired tear gas at Palestinian residents and arrested at least one Palestinian.

An Israeli soldier could be seen throwing a tear gas grenade at the Palestinian who filmed the attack.

Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 war.

The territory is home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians, and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state.

B’Tselem said the settlers who took part in the attack came from two nearby outposts, Avigayil and Havat Maon. The area is the site of recent settler attacks.

B’Tselem and other rights groups say Israeli forces often turn a blind eye to settler violence or side with the settlers in clashes with Palestinians.

“What Palestinians endured yesterday in the South Hebron Hills is one of the biggest attacks in broad daylight by settlers on a Palestinian community,” said Hagai El-Ad, the director of B’Tselem. “This is not just random settler violence. This is strategic. Israel aims to forcibly transfer Palestinians from large parts of the West Bank.”

In the incident in Jerusalem, the woman tried to stab police in one of the streets leading to Al Aqsa mosque. An AFP reporter heard gunshots and saw the body of a woman on the ground, later draped in a survival blanket.

Israeli police opened fire at the assailant and "medical forces who arrived at the scene determined her death", police said.

The 30-year-old assailant, from Qabatiya in the north of the occupied West Bank, was leaving the Al Aqsa compound, Islam's third holiest site, when she approached officers, police said.

In the village of Burqin, also in the northern West Bank near Jenin, Israeli troops and border police were conducting an operation "to arrest suspects and locate weapons", police said.

"During the operation an armed terrorist fired at the forces who were operating in the village during a riot," police said.

"Border police forces responded with gunfire towards the terrorist and neutralised him," police said. A spokesman confirmed his death to AFP.

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said the man killed was a member of its military wing. No Israeli forces were wounded in the incident, police said.

In Jerusalem, Israeli security forces are stationed at each entrance to the Al Aqsa compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

The compound is in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian sector of the city which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

The UN Middle East envoy, Tor Wennesland, told the UNSC on Wednesday that he is “deeply troubled” at the continuing loss of life and serious injuries in the Palestinian territories and “appalled that children continue to be victims of violence”.

Between June 12 and September 27, he said, 27 Palestinians, including two women and five children, were killed by Israeli security forces and 1,445 were injured, including 10 women and 152 children, during demonstrations, clashes, security operations and other incidents.

Mr Wennesland also expressed deep concern at continuing settler-related violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and said all offenders must be held accountable.

Updated: September 30th 2021, 9:28 AM