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3 Palestinians killed after West Bank attacks wound 3 Israelis

Dec. 24, 2015 9:50 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 25, 2015 5:57 P.M.)
(AFP/File)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinians were killed Thursday after separate reported attacks were carried out in the occupied West Bank that left two Israeli security guards and a soldier injured, locals and the Israeli army said.

Nearby the Palestinian town of Al-Ram northwest of Jerusalem, a Palestinian rammed his vehicle into soldiers posted near the illegal Geva Benyamin settlement, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an.

The forces then opened fire on and killed the driver, identified as Wisam Abu Ghwaila, 22, from Qalandiya. One Israeli soldier was "very lightly wounded" in the attack, the spokesperson said.

An hour earlier, a Palestinian armed with a screwdriver approached the Ari military checkpoint near Hebron and attempted to stab security forces, who “responded to the immediate threat” and opened fire, the spokesperson said.

The Palestinian -- identified by locals as Eiad Jamal Issa Ideis, 25, from the Hebron-district city of Yatta -- was shot dead on scene. No Israelis were injured in the incident, the spokesperson added.

Shortly before, a Palestinian reportedly stabbed two Israeli security guards in the industrial district of the illegal Ariel settlement north of Salfit, the Israeli army said.

The army spokesperson told Ma'an that "a Palestinian armed with a knife stabbed security personnel in Ariel wounding two" before the forces "responded to the the immediate threat and shot the attacker," killing him, the spokesperson said.

The two wounded -- a man and a woman in their mid-20's -- were evacuated to Bielinson hospital in Petah Tikva for medical treatment. Israeli police said that the man sustained a serious injury in the upper part of his body, while the woman sustained a moderate injury.

Locals identified the Palestinian killed on scene as Muhammad Zahran Abdul-Halim Zahran, 22, from the Salfit-district village of Kafr Ad Dik.

The incidents come one day after two Palestinians were shot and killed after carrying out a stabbing attack that killed one Israeli and injured another. A third Israeli was also killed by live fire from Israeli border guards who opened fire on the attackers.

The attack took place at the Jaffa Gate of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli border guards deployed in the area at the time opened fire on the Palestinians, killing one on site while the other died shortly after in the hospital.

Those killed were identified as Issa Assaf and Anan Abu Habsa from Qalandiya in the occupied West Bank, where tensions have skyrocketed between Palestinians and Israeli military forces in recent weeks.

Violence increased across the occupied Palestinian territory in October and has continued through December. Nearly 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military forces and settlers since Oct. 1, and over 20 Israelis were killed in attacks by Palestinian individuals during the same time period.

Middle East Quartet envoys and UN officials visited the area last week in efforts to quell the ongoing violence, however no concrete steps were made.

Senior UN official Miroslav Jenca said at the time that a comprehensive strategy necessary to reduce violence must not rely entirely on “enhanced security measures,” but “must also address the primary elements motivating Palestinian anger.”

While the majority of recent attacks have been carried out without the organization of political factions, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has not publicly condemned the recent attacks or upsurge in demonstrations.

Israeli authorities meanwhile have launched a crackdown in response to the escalation, promoting a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians as well as a series of harsh measures throughout the occupied territory that rights groups have termed collective punishment.

Muhammad Zahran Abdul-Halim Zahran, 22, from Kafr Ad Dik

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