Israeli soldiers shoot dead Palestinian woman in West Bank

The incident came amid fresh tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli police tow a car that was said to be used in an attack near Hizmeh Junction in the West Bank, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. The Israeli military on Wednesday shot and killed a Palestinian woman who it said tried to ram her car into a group of soldiers guarding a West Bank construction site. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

A Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Wednesday, after what the military said was an attempted car-ramming and knife attack.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the woman died after being shot.

"The Palestinian civil liaison informed the health ministry of the death of a woman shot by [Israeli forces] in Hizma," it said, citing the body that co-ordinates with Israel on military and civilian issues concerning the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said "an assailant arrived in her car and attempted to ram into a number of … soldiers" near Hizma, south of Ramallah, before she "exited her vehicle with a knife drawn."

"The soldiers responded with fire towards the assailant and neutralised her," it said.

Official Palestinian news website Wafa identified the woman as Mai Afana, 29, from the town of Abu Dis, which is east of Jerusalem.

The incident came amid fresh tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel carried out air strikes early on Wednesday targeting Hamas military compounds in the Gaza Strip after people in the Palestinian territory launched incendiary balloons at southern Israel.

The balloons, which caused over 20 fires, were sent after a march of ultranationalist Israelis in Jerusalem's flashpoint Old City on Tuesday.

It was the first flare-up in violence between Israel and Palestinian militants since a May 21 ceasefire ended 11 days of heavy fighting between the two sides.

Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip that began on May 10 killed 260 Palestinians including some fighters, Gaza authorities said.

In Israel, 13 people, including a soldier, were killed by rockets and missiles fired from Gaza, the police and army said.