JERUSALEM—Two Palestinian knife wielders were shot dead Sunday after they penetrated an Israeli settlement on the West Bank and stabbed two women, wounding one of them critically.
It was the fourth time in a week that Palestinian assailants have carried out their attacks inside a settlement. The perpetrators in the three previous incidents were teenagers, one of them a 15-year-old who was shot and wounded, the other a 13-year-old girl who was shot dead. In the most recent attack, the two assailants have not yet been identified but a witness described them as “youths”.
In other incidents involving Palestinian teenagers in recent days, a 17-year-old was killed Sunday outside Jerusalem when an explosive device he was holding went off prematurely. Israeli border police stationed nearby said the youth apparently intended to throw the homemade bomb at them.
Twin Palestinian sisters, 18, were arrested Monday when bomb-making equipment and knives were allegedly found in their home near the West Bank city of Tulkarm. Also uncovered were Hamas headbands, although officials said they were not members of Hamas. “The investigation again shows the motivation to carry out terror attacks, especially among those who are not part of terror organizations, including women,” said a Shin Bet statement. The sisters said they had learned to construct bombs from the internet.
Israeli security officials blamed the upsurge of teenage attackers on the influence of the Palestinian media as well as jihadi sites offering instruction in bomb making.
In Monday’s incident, in the settlement of Beit Horon near Jerusalem, the two assailants entered the local grocery with drawn knives and stabbed a 58-year-old woman. Outside the grocery they encountered a 23-year-old woman and stabbed her as well. As they fled the settlement, a security guard who heard the women’s screams gave chase and fired at the perpetrators, killing them. One of the victims was reported last night to be in medium to serious condition. The younger woman was said to be in critical condition. Security forces said the perpetrators scattered several pipe bombs.
Video footage on Israeli media of Saturday’s shooting showed 13-year-old girl, Roqaya Abu-Eid, running towards a guard at the entrance to the settlement of Anatot waving a long knife. The guard initially backed away but when she kept coming he turned and fired a single shot that killed her. She is the youngest person to be killed in the four-month upsurge of knife attacks. Police said she had been feeling suicidal after a fight with her parents. “She was just a little girl,” her father, Eid Abu-Eid, told AFP. “There’s no reason in the world for her to be shot and killed.”
On Jan. 17, a 15-year-old Palestinian stabbed a 39-year-old mother of six to death at the entrance to her home in the settlement of Otniel. The Shin Bet said he had been exposed to content on Palestinian television, which presented Israel “as the killer of Palestinian youngsters.” The security agency condemned “the Palestinian media’s wild incitement against Israel and the Jews” which incites terror attacks.
The next day a pregnant woman was stabbed in the settlement of Tekoa but survived her wound and has been released from hospital. Her teenaged assailant was shot by a resident as he attempted to escape and was subsequently detained.
Israeli officials say that many of the teenage attackers come from troubled homes and wish to get to paradise, which, they are taught, awaits martyrs.
More than 100 “lone wolf” attackers have been killed in the current upsurge and 50 others have died in clashes with security forces. About 28 Israelis have died.