Occupation forces shot dead two Palestinians after they wounded Israeli soldier: Army

Reuters , Sunday 27 Dec 2015

Israeli occupation forces shot dead two Palestinians who allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the army said, the latest attack in 12 weeks of heightened violence.

The current wave of protests by Palestinians and repression by Israeli occupation forces started in late July when toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.

Palestinian protests were also triggered by an increase in Jewish visitors to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians fear that Israel is preparing to allow Jewish prayers in the mosque, which are not currently allowed.

Settlement-building, racial discrimination, confiscation of identity cards, long queues at checkpoints, as well as daily clashes and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, have been Palestinians' daily routine.

The anger of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem has increased in the last three years after the Israeli authorities allowed increasing numbers of Jewish settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque.

In the latest fatal incident, the Israeli military said two Palestinians stabbed a soldier in the village of Hewara, near the West Bank city of Nablus.

"Forces on site responded to the imminent danger and fired towards the attackers, resulting in their death. An initial inquiry suggests an additional soldier was injured as a result of the fire directed towards the attackers," the occupation military said in a statement.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the two Palestinians were relatives, one aged 17 and the other, 23.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a soldier near Jerusalem's main bus station. The assailant was overpowered by a security guard and arrested, police said.

The surge in violence has been fuelled by Palestinians' frustration over Israel's 48-year occupation of land they seek for an independent state, and the expansion of settlements in those territories which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Palestinian leaders say a younger generation sees no hope for the future living under Israeli security restrictions and with a stifled economy. The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April 2014.

Violence has also been triggered by Muslim anger over stepped-up Israeli visits to Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque complex. The site, Islam's holiest outside Saudi Arabia, is also revered by many Jews as a vestige of their biblical temples.

*The story has been edited by Ahram Online.

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