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UN Middle East envoy ‘appalled’ by killing of Palestinian stabber who wounded officer

UN Middle East envoy 'appalled' by killing of Palestinian stabber who wounded officer
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The United Nations envoy to the Middle East said on Saturday he was “appalled” by the killing of a Palestinian stabber who security forces said wounded an Israeli police officer in the West Bank.

On Friday afternoon, Ammar Mifleh tried to break into the vehicle of an Israeli couple in the town of Huwara, near Nablus, border police said. As he tried to get through the locked door, one of the occupants, an off-duty IDF officer, shot and wounded Mifleh with his pistol.

Mifleh then ran to a nearby Border Police officer and stabbed him in the face, slightly injuring him.

Graphics images A post on social media showed another Border Police officer trying to detain Mifleh after the stabbing, while two other Palestinians tried to free him.

The second officer managed to get Mifleh away from them in a headlock, but then he briefly broke free of his grip and appeared to attempt to grab the officer’s automatic weapon. The officer then allowed the gun to fall to the ground as he removed a pistol from a holster and fired four rounds at point-blank range, killing Mifleh.

The images were partial and did not show the initial stabbing.

‘Horrified by today’s killing of a Palestinian man, Ammar Mifleh, during a fight with an Israeli soldier near Huwara in the o[ccupied] West Bank,” the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said on Twitter.

“My condolences to his bereaved family. Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated, and those responsible held to account,” he added.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon criticized Wennesland’s statement, calling it a “total distortion of reality.”

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, briefs the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue, via videoconference, on January 26, 2021. (Daniela Penkova/ UNSCO/Archive)

“This incident is a terrorist attack, in which an Israeli policeman was stabbed in the face and another policeman’s life was threatened and he subsequently shot his assailant,” Nahshon said on Twitter.

“This is NOT a ‘fight’, this is a terrorist attack!” she added.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz also said he “strongly condemned” Wennesland’s comments.

“I want to praise the policeman who neutralized a terrorist yesterday. I strongly condemn the attempts to present the event in a false and manipulative manner, and the statement by the UN envoy to the Middle East against the [officer]who acted with determination and professionalism,” Gantz said on Twitter.

Injuries to a police officer following a stab attack in the northern West Bank city of Hawara on December 2, 2022. (Israel Police)

Huwara Mayor Moein Dmeidy and others on Saturday cited secondhand accounts of an altercation between Mifleh and an Israeli motorist after a car crash, but Associated Press journalists were unable to find witnesses to the events leading up to the crash. shooting.

Dmeidy said that the officer had no justification for killing Mifleh after he had already overpowered him. Mifleh was “killed in cold blood,” said the mayor, who arrived at the scene moments after the shooting.

Dmeidy said a Palestinian ambulance arrived minutes after the shooting, but security forces prevented medics from administering help. Dmeidy said Israel has not released Mifleh’s body for burial.

Border police said the officer with stab wounds was later evacuated for medical treatment, as was the officer who subdued the attacker.

Images of the officer who killed the attacker were posted on social media on Saturday, some of which included threats against him.

Huwara is a frequent hotspot with a highway running through the town as the main route for settlers traveling in the northern West Bank.

Mifleh was the ninth Palestinian to be killed in West Bank violence in less than four days.

A knife used by a suspected Palestinian attacker in the West Bank town of Huwara on December 2, 2022 (Israel Police)

Two members of a Palestinian terror group were killed in heavy clashes with Israeli troops that broke out during an arrest raid before dawn Thursday near the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Another Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli troops in the northern West Bank town of Yabed on Wednesday afternoon. Four Palestinians were killed in clashes with the IDF in the West Bank on Tuesday and another Palestinian was killed after carrying out a ramming attack that seriously injured a soldier earlier in the day.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank over the past year, with the IDF launching a major counter-terror offensive focused mainly on the northern West Bank to counter a series of Palestinian attacks that have killed 31 people in Israel and the West Bank. .since the beginning of the year.

The operation has led to more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left more than 150 Palestinians dead, many, but not all, while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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