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Israeli officer killed in Jerusalem after Gaza and West Bank violence

#Israeli #officer #killed #Jerusalem #Gaza #West #Bank #violence

An Israeli policeman was killed Monday in a stabbing attack carried out by a Palestinian boy in annexed east Jerusalem, police said, triggering a raid on a refugee camp amid a spike in violence.

The border policeman was stabbed on Monday afternoon while searching a bus at the entrance to east Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp, officers said, who arrested a 13-year-old Palestinian from the camp.

Asil Suaed, 22, from a Bedouin town in Israel’s north, later died of his wounds, both from the stabbing as well as being shot, after a civilian opened fire intending to hit the attacker but missed.

Officers then entered Shuafat camp and arrested the alleged attacker’s parents and brother, during which police said a Palestinian “allegedly tried to run over” officers, adding the driver was shot and “taken for medical treatment”.

Earlier on Monday, a Jewish teenager was wounded in separate attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israel struck a Hamas base in Gaza following rocket fire and a Palestinian man was killed in an army raid in the occupied West Bank.

Police arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian also from Shuafat, who allegedly stabbed a 17-year-old in Jerusalem’s Old City, who suffered minor wounds.

Last year was the deadliest year in the West Bank since the United Nations started tracking casualties in the territory in 2005.

Since the start of this year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 47 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians.

Nine Israeli civilians, including three children, one Ukrainian civilian and the police officer have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.

– ‘Extensive damage’ – 

Separately, in Israeli-blockaded Gaza, the army said it struck “an underground complex containing raw materials used for the manufacturing of rockets” belonging to Hamas, which rules the enclave.

The military said the strikes were “a response” to a rocket fired on Saturday from the coastal territory towards Israel.

A spokesman for Hamas’ interior ministry in Gaza said the strikes caused “extensive damage to four houses, a wedding hall and a gas station”, but no casualties were reported.

Senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said that further strikes would prompt a military response, warning that the group’s rockets would reach “ground targets in Tel Aviv and beyond”.

In the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said Amir Ihab Bustami, 21, was killed in a pre-dawn Israeli raid in Nablus, the scene of repeated clashes over the past year.

The army said Israeli forces apprehended two men, Abdul Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, who allegedly shot dead soldier Ido Baruch in October.

The military announced it detained three other suspects, after Israel spent months gathering intelligence to find “where the assailants were hiding”.

“Forces arrived at the hideout apartment and an exchange of fire was instigated between the forces and the wanted suspects,” it added.

– Settlement approvals –

In a move likely to further inflame tensions, Israel’s security cabinet late Sunday announced it would legalise nine West Bank Jewish settlements in response to fatal Palestinian attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government also announced a beefed-up security presence in east Jerusalem.

A security cabinet statement said many of the newly authorised West Bank settler communities had existed for years, and others for decades, but had not previously been recognised as legitimate by Israel’s government. 

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called for the international community to “punish” Israel over the move.

Jordan’s foreign minister said it will fuel violence, with spokesman Sinan Majali warning “everyone will pay the price”.

In Sunday’s security cabinet meeting, officials also said they intended to announce a new round of settler housing construction in the West Bank.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said he was “deeply troubled” at Israel’s moves to advance settlements, warning such actions “exacerbate tensions and undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution”.

Some 475,000 Jewish settlers now live in the Palestinian territory, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Most of that population resides in settlements that Israel has unilaterally authorised, but some live in communities that have not been given government authorisation. 

All settlements are considered illegal under international law.

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