Settler runs over Palestinian girl

Israeli police say teenager tried to stab women, as two others also killed.
Israeli soldiers and police inspect the damaged car of an Israeli settler who ran over and opened fire on a Palestinian girl near the West Bank city of Nablus on November 22. EPA
Israeli soldiers and police inspect the damaged car of an Israeli settler who ran over and opened fire on a Palestinian girl near the West Bank city of Nablus on November 22. EPA

Jerusalem // Three Palestinians were killed on Sunday including a teenage girl run over by a Jewish settler before she was shot dead in the occupied West Bank.

Asheraqat Qatanani, 16, from Askar refugee camp near Nablus was smashed into by a car driven by a prominent settler before Israeli soldiers shot her on the ground.

Israeli police said she tried to stab two Israeli women at a junction popular with Jewish settlers near Nablus. Her father, Taha Qatanani, said his daughter went to school as usual in the morning and that he heard about her death two hours later. “She talked about stabbing to her brother the day before but no one took her seriously. If she tried to stab she did what she wanted,” he said.

The settler, Gershon Mesika, said he hit her with his car before a soldier shot her.

“I saw her holding a knife,” he told army radio. “I broke to the right and hit her full-speed with the car. She fell and then a soldier came and finished the job.”

The army did not confirm who Qatanani was targeting. Mesika is former head of the “Samaria regional council,” which represents Israel’s illegal settlements in the northern West Bank, the Palestinianian news agency Maan said. Hamas vowed to avenge her death.

Yesterday’s attacks were the latest in the wave of violence since October 1 that has killed more than 90 Palestinians. Human rights groups said that in many cases the Israeli military had used excessive force. Israel claims that many of the Palestiains were killed while carrying out stabbing attacks. At least 16 Israelis have been killed in the same period.

Less than an hour after Qatanani’s death, a Palestinian taxi driver was shot and killed near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim near Jericho.

Israeli police said he had attempted to ram into civilians and charged at them with a knife before being shot dead by a settler.

Also in the West Bank, near the Gush Etzion block of settlements south of Jerusalem, an Israeli was stabbed and the Palestinian attacker shot dead by security forces afterwards, police said, with the female victim reported in critical condition.

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency identified the attacker as Issam Thawabteh, 34, from Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem.

Random knife attacks by Palestinians have followed a surge in settler violence and a crackdown by Israeli forces on Palestinians protesting any change to the Al Aqsa status quo. Right-wing Israeli politicians allied with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have increased visits to the site and have said they will seek to allow Jewish prayer there.

The frustration has also built over long-deadlocked talks on a US-sponsored peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

US secretary of state John Kerry will visit Israel and Palestine, where he will meet prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

US officials said they were not expecting to strike any new agreement on a return to peace talks during Mr Kerry’s visit and would simply try to walk the parties back from the immediate violence.

* Agencies

Published: November 22, 2015 04:00 AM

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