Israeli forces kill three Palestinian 'assailants'

Reuters , Thursday 24 Dec 2015

Israeli forces
An Israeli soldier aims his weapon near the scene where a Palestinian was shot dead after he attempted to ram his car into soldiers injuring one, the army said, at a military post near West Bank city of Ramallah December 24, 2015. (Reuters)

Israeli forces killed three Palestinian assailants in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Israeli authorities said, as a 12-week surge in Israeli repression to Palestinian protests showed no sign of abating.

Among drivers for the bloodshed has been a July 31 arson attack by suspected Jewish zealots that killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents, and Israel's failure to crack the case.

Video footage of far-right Jews mocking the arson victims sparked outrage in Israel on Thursday and debate over whether the leak aimed to sway public opinion in favour of tough interrogation of several suspects who are in state custody.

Aired on Israeli television late on Wednesday, the clip showed a wedding in the occupied east Jerusalem last week at which one dancing celebrant stabbed a picture of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh while others waved assault rifles, knives and what appeared to be a petrol bomb.

"The shocking pictures that were broadcast show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

"The pictures underscore how important a strong Israel Security Agency is to the security of us all," he said.

With Israel hinting indictments over the arson in the occupied West Bank village of Duma may be imminent, some of the suspects' lawyers have accused the security agency - also known as the Shin Bet - of trying to exact false confessions with torture.

The Shin Bet, in a rare statement, denied on Thursday it had tortured any of the suspects and said "the lies were being disseminated in an effort to undermine the investigation".

In the latest in a wave of almost daily assaults by Palestinians, a knife-wielding Palestinian wounded two guards on Thursday near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and was shot dead, the army said.

In other locations in the West Bank, another Palestinian was shot dead while trying to stab a soldier with a screwdriver, and a third after injuring a soldier in a car-ramming attack, the army said.

Israeli forces have killed at least 123 Palestinians since October, while 20 Israelis were killed.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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