Israel police kill Palestinian who launched van, stabbing attack

Jerusalem (AFP) –


A Palestinian man was shot dead Wednesday after he hit an Israeli police officer with a van at a West Bank checkpoint and then stabbed him with a pair of scissors, police said.

A pipe bomb was found at the scene which the attacker had apparently intended to hurl at the officers, police said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished a "speedy recovery" to the policeman -- who was taken to hospital but was not in a life-threatening condition -- and congratulated the forces who had "acted speedily and neutralised the terrorist".

A video published online showed the van hitting the officer and the driver getting out and chasing him with a sharp object in his hands.

Other officers at the checkpoint then opened fire on the man, who initially kept running.

"The terrorist drove his vehicle into the border policeman that was on duty," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in an English-language statement, saying the attacker then stabbed the officer with a pair of scissors.

"The terrorist was shot and killed," Rosenfeld said.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the dead man was a Palestinian, naming him as 25-year-old Ibrahim Halaseh.

The attack took place near the Jewish West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim and the Palestinian neighbourhood of Abu Dis, on the outskirts of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Residents said Halaseh hailed from the Palestinian village of Sawahera close to the checkpoint.

After the attack Israeli security forces were seen escorting away a woman from a nearby home, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Local residents said she was Halaseh's mother.

A series of so-called lone wolf attacks broke out in the West Bank and Jerusalem in late 2015.

Dozens of individual Palestinians, often not linked to political movements but angered by Israel's ongoing military occupation, attacked soldiers and Israeli civilians.

The situation lasted for several months but has since calmed, though sporadic attacks continue.

In a separate incident Wednesday morning, a 23-year-old Palestinian who was jailed in an Israeli prison died in unclear circumstances.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club said Nour Barghouti collapsed in an Israeli jail and died shortly after.

The Israeli Prisons' Service said that a detainee, whom it did not name, was found unconscious in his cell Tuesday night, was taken to hospital and later died there.

It said he was serving an eight-year sentence for throwing molotov cocktails at Israelis and for firearms offences.