Palestinian man shot dead while trying to attack Israelis in occupied West Bank

AFP , Friday 31 Dec 2021

Israeli troops Friday shot dead a Palestinian man who attempted to stab soldiers and settlers at a bus stop in the occupied West Bank, the military said.

Amir Atef Rayyan

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the death of the alleged assailant, identifying him as Amir Atef Rayyan,         .

The Israeli occupation army said the attempted stabbing took place near the Gitain Avisar junction in the West Bank.

The Palestinian, it said, approached a military post in a car "and got out of the vehicle armed with a knife".

The man "ran towards the bus station where civilians and IDF soldiers were standing. The troops fired towards the assailant and neutralised him", the army added.

An army spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the Palestinian man was dead.

The army said there were no injuries among the Israelis.

Troops sealed off roads in the area while others chased the vehicle that had dropped off the alleged assailant, looking for more suspects.

According to the Israeli army's annual report, 100 attacks were carried out in 2021 against Israelis in the West Bank, up from 60 a year earlier.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recorded 410 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the first 10 months of 2021, compared to 358 in the whole of 2020.

The latest attack came after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas made a rare visit Wednesday to Israel for talks with Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

After the talks at Gantz's home, Israel unveiled a package of "confidence-building measures" for the West Bank.

Tensions have been running high in the occupied territory in recent weeks.

The West Bank has seen a series of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis and the killings of Palestinians by Israeli troops during clashes since late November.

In the latest attack on December 21, a Palestinian man tried to ram Israeli soldiers with his car near the West Bank town of Jenin.

The man crashed his car into a military jeep after being shot, causing both vehicles to burst into flames, the military said at the time.

On December 19, the army said it had arrested four Palestinian men suspected of shooting dead a Jewish settler and wounding two others days earlier.

The four are suspected of firing at least 10 bullets at a car, killing 25-year-old religious student Yehuda Dimentman and wounding two fellow students as they drove out of Homesh, an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank.

United Nations Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said in December he was "alarmed by the escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, which is claiming the lives of Israelis and Palestinians".

Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 from Jordan. Nearly 500,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the territory, which is regarded as illegal by the United Nations and international laws.

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