RAMLE, Israel (Reuters) - Israeli police said two 13-year-old girls from Israel’s Arab minority stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard in a town near Tel Aviv on Thursday and were arrested.
A wave of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings carried out by Palestinians has killed 27 Israelis and a U.S. citizen since October. Israeli forces have killed at least 155 Palestinians, 101 of them assailants, according to authorities. Most of the others died during violent protests.
The bloodshed has been partly fueled by Palestinian frustration over long-stalled peace talks and anger at perceived Jewish encroachment on a contested Jerusalem shrine.
In Thursday’s incident at the central bus station in Ramle, a Jewish-Arab town, the girls drew knives and attacked a guard who challenged them after they set off a metal detector, police said.
“Indications are that the motive was nationalistic,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
On Wednesday, three young Palestinian men from the occupied West Bank wielding guns, knives and pipe-bombs killed a paramilitary Israeli policewoman in Jerusalem and were shot dead.
In response, Israeli forces raided the assailants’ hometown of Qabatya, arresting five suspected militants and imposing a closure.
Qabatya resident Ali Zakameh said locals protesters were facing off with the Israeli forces on Thursday.
“Qabatya now is witnessing clashes. It is like war, a lot of injuries from live ammunition and from being hit by Israeli military vehicles. There are serious injuries,” he said. “Qabatya is sealed off from all of its entrances, the main and the sub roads.”
Most of the assaults in the four-month surge of street attacks have been carried out by Palestinians from the occupied territories. But several of the attackers came from the Arab minority inside Israel which makes up around a fifth of the population and rarely engages in political violence.
Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Raissa Kasolowsky