JERUSALEM – An Israeli officer shot and killed a Palestinian woman Friday after police said she attempted to stab another officer during a security check outside a volatile West Bank shrine revered by Muslims and Jews.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the incident began when the woman aroused suspicions at a checkpoint near the shrine in the city of Hebron, a frequent flashpoint of violence.
The woman was asked to go into a room to undergo a further security check by a female police officer, Samri said.
The woman, identified by Palestinians as 27-year-old Sarah Tarayreh, pulled out a knife and tried to stab the female officer, Samri said. Another officer at the scene opened fire and killed the Palestinian woman, Samri said.
Police released a photo of a knife they said the woman was wielding. Samri refused to elaborate when asked for more details about the incident or whether security camera footage would be released.
Video footage purportedly of the incident posted by the Israeli news website Ynet shows soldiers rushing toward the door of a room in the inspection area and standing outside. Four shots ring out, followed by a man shouting in Hebrew, "stop, stop, stop," and then a woman saying in Arabic, "What did I do?"
It is not clear from the footage who fired the shots, what happened inside the room and who spoke in Arabic. It is not clear either if the footage had been edited.
Friday's incident came a day after a Palestinian from the town of Bani Naim near Hebron stabbed to death a 13-year-old Jewish girl as she slept in her bedroom in a West Bank settlement.
Tarayreh was from the same town and the same clan as Thursday's assailant, but not a close relative, said the mayor of Bani Naim, Mahmoud Manasrah. Palestinian clans in the West Bank can have thousands of members.
Over the past nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbings, shootings and attacks using cars against civilians and security forces that killed 33 Israelis and two American tourists. Israeli troops as well as some armed civilians have killed about 200 Palestinians during this period, most said by Israeli to be attackers.
The Palestinians and Israeli rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force at times by killing assailants who they say could have been subdued. In some cases, Palestinians were killed as they tried to flee the scene, or after they had already been stopped or wounded after an attack.
Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for a state.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday visited the family of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the girl stabbed to death Thursday.
"To see Hallel's room, to see the blood stains next to her bed and the books and clothes of a small child, this is shocking," he said. "It reminds us again who we are facing. They want to uproot what has been planted and we will deepen the roots. They will not make us leave here."