A 13-year-old Palestinian girl was shot dead by an Israeli security guard she tried to stab at a settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Israeli police said on Saturday.
It was the latest fatality in an almost four-month-long surge of violence that has raised concern of wider escalation, a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided, and it followed two stabbings this week inside settlements carried out by Palestinian teenagers, according to Israeli authorities.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said initial investigations showed the teenager “had fought with her family and left her home with a knife and intending to die.”
Holding a knife, she ran toward the security guard at the entrance to Anatot settlement and he opened fire at her, Samri said. Her father arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and was arrested, she added.
Eight seconds of security camera footage published on Israeli Channel Two News’s website showed the armed guard running through the settlement gate and a young woman running after him with an object, possibly a knife, in her hand.
The family of the teenager, Ruqayya Abu Eid, confirmed her death. Her mother, Reeda Abu Eid, said there had been no trouble before her daughter left the family home, a tent in the Palestinian village Anata.
“Her father works in a farm and Ruqayya used to go to him. I didn’t see her when she left so I expected she had gone to her father,” she said. “Ruqayya is a small girl, how could she stab someone?”
Since the start of October, Israeli forces have killed at least 149 Palestinians, 95 of them assailants according to authorities. Most of the others have died in violent protests. Almost daily stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis and a U.S. citizen.
Many of the Palestinian assailants have been teenagers.
On Sunday, an Israeli mother of six was stabbed to death at her home in a West Bank settlement and a 15-year-old Palestinian was arrested for the attack. On Monday, Israeli troops shot and wounded a 17-year-old Palestinian who had stabbed and wounded a pregnant Israeli woman in a settlement.
The bloodshed has been fueled by various factors including frustration over the 2014 collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the growth of Jewish settlements on land Palestinians seek for an independent state.
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 Islamist groups that call for Israel’s destruction.—Reuters