Israeli soldiers and settlers gather around the body of a Palestinian man who tried to stab a soldier at the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadassah in the center of the Israeli-occupied city of Hebron, on October 29, 2015. Image Credit: AFP

Ramallah: Israeli occupation forces on Thursday shot and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron under the claims of a foiled knifing attempt.

Hebron sources who requested anonymity strongly denied the Israeli account, saying the regime claimed without any basis that the Palestinian attempted to stab an occupation solider near Checkpoint 160, close to the Al Salaymah neighbourhood, which leads to Al Ebrahimi mosque in Hebron. The mosque is believed by Muslims to be the burial place of Prophet Ebrahim, and half of it has been taken over by the occupation regime for use by radical Jewish colonists who have settled in the city.

Mahdi Mohammad Ramadan Al Muhtaseb, 23, was pronounced dead on the scene after the occupation forces prevented the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance and medics from attending to him as he bled to death.

The sources said that Al Muhtaseb was executed in cold blood by an Israeli border police officer who initially shot the man in the shoulder then repeatedly shot him in the head. The sources said that a knife was placed next to his body.

Palestinian eye witnesses who were there at the checkpoint spoke to Hebron families and clans about the killing of Al Muhtaseb and provided the families with a video showing the Israeli soldier placing a knife beside the Palestinian. Regime soldiers dragged his body, took off his clothes and wrapped him in a black plastic bag. According to news reports, Israeli occupation forces use black plastic to cover dead Palestinians, and white ones for other dead people.

Hebron sources emphasised that Al Muhtaseb was not involved in any attempt to kill Israeli soldiers and never had a knife in hand; the Israeli soldiers themselves put the knife in place. The sources stressed that the occupation soldiers routinely kill Palestinians and places knifes beside the corpses to justify their crimes. “Enough of executing Palestinians in cold blood!” said the sources.

The occupation forces on the other hand claimed that Al Muhtaseb attempted to stab an Israeli soldier who was lightly injured in the attack. The Israeli media claimed that the solider recovered from the blow, fought back and killed the attacker.

Hebron sources said that following Al Muhtaseb’s killing, fierce clashes erupted on the scene in which several Palestinians were wounded and at least six others were arrested. The Palestinian authorities in Hebron evacuated schools and ordered the students to return home, but most of the school children took part in clashes with the occupation forces.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that 67 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the occupation forces since the beginning of October in the occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the 1948 areas. A total of 914 Palestinians have been wounded with live fire during the clashes and 878 others were wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets. The ministry said that 206 Palestinians were badly beaten by the colonists and hospitalised, mainly in the West Bank. The ministry added that 14 Palestinians suffered different types of burns and more than 5,000 Palestinians suffered suffocation after inhaling tear gas.

The widely held belief that Israel plans to change the status quo in Al Haram Al Sharif was the main reason for a surge in violence in the Occupied Territories. According to the fifty-year-old status quo, Israelis are allowed to visit the holy shrine but not to pray there.

Meanwhile, occupation forces shot and killed another Palestinian teenager on the same day on Al Shuhada’a Street in Hebron during a peaceful protest, raising the death toll to two in less than four hours.

Hebron sources said that Palestinian teen Farouq Abdul Qader Sedr, 18, was shot by an occupation soldier before the eyes of heads of legal and human rights organisations during the protest, after the occupation forces ordered Palestinians gathering on Al Shuhada’a Street, opposite to the Jewish colony outpost of Beit Hadasa, to move out of the area. The occupation forces claimed that the teen attempted to stab a solider but his attempt was foiled and he was killed. “A sheer lie witnessed by hundreds of eye witnesses and documented,” said the sources.