Palestinian woman tries to stab Israeli guard in West Bank, shot dead: police

A Palestinian woman attempted to stab an Israeli guard at a flashpoint West Bank shrine and was shot dead.  

AFP| Updated: Jul 01, 2016, 13:48 PM IST

Jerusalem: A Palestinian woman attempted to stab an Israeli guard at a flashpoint West Bank shrine on Friday and was shot dead, Israeli police said, the third violent incident in two days.

They said that no police were wounded in the attempt at the site in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs.

"A female terrorist armed with a knife approached a border police post at one of the entrances to the Cave of the Patriarchs and suddenly drew a knife and tried to stab one of the policemen," a police statement said.

"He responded and shot the terrorist."

It was the third violent incident in Israel and the Palestinian territories in two days and came as Muslims neared the end of their holy fasting month of Ramadan.

On Thursday morning, a Palestinian fatally stabbed a US-Israeli teenager in her home at the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba adjoining Hebron, before being shot dead by security guards.

That evening, in the Israeli seaside town of Netanya, a Palestinian from the northern West Bank stabbed a man and woman, both Israelis, before being shot dead by a passing civilian, police said.

Hebron has been a flashpoint in a spate of deadly unrest that has rocked Israel and the Palestinian territories since last October.

Several hundred Jewish settlers live in a tightly guarded enclave in the heart of the city of more than 200,000 Palestinians, a persistent source of tensions.

Kiryat Arba lies on the outskirts of the city and has a population of more than 7,000.

The violence since October has killed at least 213 Palestinians, 33 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.In Jerusalem, Israeli police said they had deployed thousands of officers "in and around the Old City" in preparation for the fourth and final Friday prayers of Ramadan.

"Thousands of (Muslims) are expected to make their way to the Old City for prayers," a police statement said in English.

"Police and border police will be patrolling the different areas to prevent -- and respond to if necessary -- any incidents."

In an effort to cap rising tensions, Israeli authorities announced Tuesday they were closing Jerusalem`s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound to non-Muslim visitors after a series of clashes between worshippers and police.

The decision will apply until the end of Ramadan next week, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

Clashes between Muslims and Israeli police broke out on Sunday over Jewish visits to the compound, with youths throwing stones and security forces firing tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets.

Islamic officials accused Israel of breaking a tacit ban on non-Muslim access to the site during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

The period, which began on Sunday, is the most solemn for Muslims and attracts the highest number of worshippers.

Non-Muslims, including Jews, are allowed to visit the site during set hours but are barred from praying to avoid provoking tensions.

Revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the mosque compound is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.