The Israeli military said its troops have shot dead a Palestinian who tried to ram a tractor into forces stationed in the West Bank.
The military said its initial investigation revealed that a 35-year-old Palestinian from a village near Hebron tried to run over an officer with a Bobcat tractor. The attacker then turned around and tried to attack nearby Israeli civilians, the military said.
It said a soldier opened fire, killing the assailant. No Israeli troops were harmed.
Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks. Over 260 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in that time. Israel says most were attackers. The attacks have petered off in recent months as the Palestinian focus has shifted toward mass protests on the Gaza border.
On Friday, the Palestinians protested for the 10th week in a row. The military said some hurled grenades and pipe bombs at troops behind the security fence. A 21-year-old woman, who was working as a volunteer paramedic treating wounded protesters, was killed by Israeli fire.
The army said its troops operated “in accordance with standard operating procedures” and that it was investigating the incident.
The Palestinians and human rights groups have accused Israeli forces of using excessive force on some occasions, and of killing Palestinians who did not pose an imminent threat both in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Gaza protests are being organised by the territory‘s militant Hamas leadership and are aimed at drawing attention to the decade-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory. The protesters are also demanding the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from what is now Israel during the war that attended its creation. They and their descendants now number over 5 million.
Since March 30, Israeli fire has killed more than 115 Palestinians.
Israel says it has only opened fire at instigators and that Hamas has been using the demonstrations as cover to carry out attacks.
The military said that on Saturday it thwarted a Palestinian attempt to damage the security fence surrounding Gaza. It said a group of militants briefly entered Israel before fleeing back into Gaza when Israeli troops opened fire.