JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers on Friday shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to stab troops at a checkpoint near the West Bank town of Ramallah, the Israeli army said, in the latest attack during a five-month-long wave of violence.
A military spokeswoman said the assailant was the only casualty in the incident and a Palestinian official and family members identified the dead person as 17-year-old Mahmoud Shaalan, a Ramallah resident who also held U.S. citizenship.
“A Palestinian assailant armed with a knife attempted to stab soldiers stationed at a security crossing near Ramallah. The force thwarted the attack, firing toward the assailant, resulting in his death,” a military statement said.
Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car rammings have killed 28 Israelis and a U.S. citizen since October. Israeli security forces have killed at least 169 Palestinians, 112 of whom Israel says were assailants, while most others were shot dead during violent anti-Israeli protests.
The bloodshed has been fueled by various factors, including a dispute over Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound and the failure of several rounds of peace talks to secure the Palestinians an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory.
Palestinian leaders have said that with no breakthrough on the horizon, desperate youngsters see no future ahead. Israel says young Palestinians are being incited to violence by their leaders and by Islamist groups calling for Israel’s destruction.
Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Ori Lewis