JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian who stabbed and wounded an Israeli security guard at a main military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank that separates Ramallah and Jerusalem, was shot and killed on Friday, police said.
The incident occurred hours after world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, attended the funeral of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was also greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the Palestinian, a 28-year-old East Jerusalem resident, ran into Qalandia checkpoint wielding a knife and stabbed a security guard before he was shot.
The guard was seriously injured and taken to hospital for treatment, Samri said.
In the past year, at least 219 Palestinians have died in violent incidents in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Of those, 148 were identified by authorities as assailants while others were killed during clashes and protests.
Palestinians, many acting alone and with rudimentary weapons, have killed at least 33 Israelis and two visiting Americans in the attacks.
Israel says anti-Israeli incitement by Palestinian officials and on social media networks is stoking attacks.
Palestinian leaders say assailants are acting out of desperation over the collapse in 2014 of peace talks and Israeli settlement expansion on occupied land that Palestinians seek for an independent state.
Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive force and say that some of those killed over the past year posed no threat or had no intention of attacking anyone. In some cases, Israel has opened investigations into whether excessive force was used.
During his eulogy for Peres, the last of a generation of Israel’s founding fathers, Obama gently reminded Netanyahu and Abbas of the “unfinished business of peace.”
Netanyahu and Western-backed Abbas have not held face-to-face talks since 2010 and Abbas opted to attend Peres’s funeral, making the short drive from Ramallah through Israeli military checkpoints.
But there was no indication that Abbas’s rare visit to Jerusalem and the amiable words he and Netanyahu exchanged would lead to any movement in long-stalled peacemaking.
Peres, a former president and prime minister who died on Wednesday at the age of 93, shared a Nobel Prize for the interim land-for-peace accords he helped reach with the Palestinians as Israel’s foreign minister in the 1990s.
(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)