Middle East

Israeli soldier stabbed, Palestinian attackers killed

Israeli soldiers stand at the scene of an attack in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel.

Israeli soldiers stand at the scene of an attack in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel.  (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Two Palestinian assailants stabbed a female Israeli soldier in the northern West Bank before security forces killed them Thursday, the army said.

The army said the woman was injured in her upper body and is in moderate to serious condition. The stabbing took place at Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank.

The mayor of Beit Fajjar in the southern West Bank identified the two assailants as village residents Ali Taqatqah, 19, and Ali Thawabteh, 20.

Also Thursday, a Jerusalem court issued an indictment against a 20-year-old Israeli resident of Jerusalem and four teenage accomplices who allegedly assaulted an Arab cleaner employed by the Jerusalem municipality in a city park earlier this month. One reportedly shouted at the cleaner, "Your Mohammed is a pig," and the group punched and kicked the victim, then stole his mobile phone, according to the indictment.

Since mid-September, Palestinians have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. At least 184 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire over the same period, the majority of whom Israel says were assailants. The rest were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces.

Israel blames Palestinian incitement by leaders and on social media for the attacks. The Palestinians say the violence stems from frustration at nearly five decades of military occupation.

Despite the ongoing violence, Jerusalem is preparing for its sixth marathon Friday. About 25,000 athletes including a record 2,500 foreign visitors are expected at this year's sporting events, said Jerusalem city spokeswoman Brachie Sprung. The race will weave through east and west Jerusalem, up steep hills and through the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City. Mayor Nir Barkat will run 10 kilometers, Sprung said.