RAMLE, Israel, Feb 4, (Agencies): Israeli police said two 13-yearold girls from Israel’s Arab minority stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard in a town near Tel Aviv on Thursday and were arrested. A wave of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings carried out by Palestinians has killed 27 Israelis and a US citizen since October. Israeli forces have killed at least 155 Palestinians, 101 of them assailants, according to authorities. Most of the others died during violent protests. The bloodshed has been partly fuelled by Palestinian frustration over long-stalled peace talks and anger at perceived Jewish encroachment on a contested Jerusalem shrine.
In Thursday’s incident at the central bus station in Ramle, a Jewish-Arab town, the girls drew knives and attacked a guard who challenged them after they set off a metal detector, police said. “Indications are that the motive was nationalistic,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. On Wednesday, three young Palestinian men from the occupied West Bank wielding guns, knives and pipe-bombs killed a paramilitary Israeli policewoman in Jerusalem and were shot dead. In response, the Israeli military on Thursday sealed off the home village of the three Palestinian men who staged a deadly attack in Jerusalem and carried out a number of arrests there. Citing “situation assessments,” the military said no one can exit or enter the village of Kabatiya in the northern West Bank until further notice.
Such internal closures were common during the second Palestinian uprising but have been rarely used in recent years. Wednesday’s attack with automatic weapons, knives and explosive devices killed a 19-yearold police officer and wounded another in one of the most brazen attacks of the current round of violence roiling the region. “This is a prolonged battle. Islamic terror is sweeping across the whole world and inciting millions,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to a Jerusalem hospital with troops wounded in the attacks. “We are in this turmoil. It doesn’t skip us but we battle it fiercely and will continue to do so.”
The nearly five-month long wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence has killed 27 Israelis and 154 Palestinians; of those Israel says 109 were attackers and the rest killed in clashes with security forces. In the latest violence, police said two 13-year-old Arab girls stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard at a bus station in the mixed Jewish-Arab Israeli city of Ramle on Thursday. A photo from the scene shared by police showed two kitchen knives on the ground beside a calculator, pens and other school supplies.
The girls, who are Israeli citizens, were arrested at the scene, police said. Israel says the violence has been fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement. The Palestinians say it is rooted in frustrations stemming from nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation. Israel has deployed a series of measures in a bid to crack down on the violence, including sending troops to secure its cities, expanding police powers and toughening punishments for attackers.