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Israeli driver stabbed, lightly wounded by Palestinian hitchhiker near Beit Jala

March 7, 2017 1:10 P.M. (Updated: March 7, 2017 4:38 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli driver was stabbed and lightly injured in the shoulder by a Palestinian hitchhiker on Route 60 in the southern occupied West Bank, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an, who said that the attacker fled the scene.

According to the spokesperson, the Israeli civilian picked up the hitchhiker while he was driving near the Palestinian village of Beit Jala.

Israeli news site Reshet Bet reported that the man arrived at the "tunnels" checkpoint on Route 60 that leads from Beit Jala to occupied East Jerusalem, and told the Israeli soldiers stationed there that he had been stabbed.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the hitchhiker was Palestinian.

According to al-Samri, the driver had repaired his car at a local mechanic, and picked up a Palestinian hitchhiker afterwards near the village of al-Walaja, which is between Beit Jala and Jerusalem.

Israel's emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) confirmed in a statement that the attack occurred on Route 60, saying that its medics treated a 40-year-old male for a bleeding wound in his upper body, and evacuated him for further treatment after they stopped the bleeding, confirming he was in a "light" condition.

The man was reportedly taken in an ambulance to Israel's Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was treated for minor wounds.

Israeli forces were searching the area to find the perpetrator, and the incident was being reviewed, the Israeli army spokesperson added.

The circumstances of the incident and the nature of the relationship between the two men remained unclear. Israeli authorities did not specifically classify the incident as a "terrorist attack."

The occupied West Bank saw an increased Israeli military presence since October 2015, when a wave of unrest erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. The majority of Palestinians attacks have been directed at uniformed Israeli military forces.

However, a number of attackers have targeted Israeli civilians and settlers.

Israel’s response to attacks and alleged attacks have been condemned by rights groups, who have said such measures amount to “collective punishment” and represent a clear violation of international law.
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