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Palestinian teen arrested on suspicion of stabbing Israeli woman


JERUSALEM: Israeli police arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from a school in annexed east Jerusalem Wednesday on suspicion of stabbing an Israeli woman in the back, police said.

The attack took place in the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Israeli settlers have been mounting legal campaigns to expel Palestinian residents whose homes belonged to Jews before the 1948 war for Israel’s independence.

“At the end of a police manhunt that included searches of the ground with the help of a police helicopter, the suspect in the act, a 14-year-old resident of the area, was located inside an educational institution located hundreds of metres (yards) from the attack,” a police statement said.

The victim, 26, was walking with her children at the time of the attack, police said.

She was admitted to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus with a 30-centimetre-long (foot-long) knife in her back, said director of general surgery Haggi Mazeh. He described her condition as “mild” and said she could be discharged later in the day.

Police fanned out in Sheikh Jarrah after the 7:30 am (0530 GMT) stabbing. They said they also detained “a number of women surrounding the suspect” at the time of her arrest.

At least seven Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are waiting for an Israeli legal ruling on whether they must surrender their homes to Jewish settlers in a case that exploded into 11 days of bloody conflict in and around the Gaza Strip in May.

Israeli law in Jerusalem allows Israeli Jews to reclaim property lost in 1948. No similar rights exist for Palestinians who fled their homes at the same time.

The stabbing is the latest in a series of “lone wolf” attacks in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in recent weeks by individuals who do not appear to have ties to established militant groups.

On Monday, a Palestinian teen rammed his car into an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank. A security guard shot him dead, Israeli authorities said.

On Saturday, a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli civilian and attempted to attack police near the Old City. Officers shot the assailant and appeared to continue firing after he lay on the ground incapacitated.

Palestinians accused Israel of excessive force, while Israel said officers who killed the attacker followed protocol.

Last month, an Israeli civilian was killed and three people wounded when a Palestinian gunman opened fire in Jerusalem’s Old City in a rare shooting attack by a militant of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

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