Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron shot and wounded Sunday a Palestinian boy after two soldiers were stabbed near the Haram Al Ibrahimi mosque, also the site of the Jewish “Cave of the Patriarchs”.
Palestinian sources said a 17 year-old boy was critically wounded this afternoon and was taken to an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. Witnesses said that the boy, a local Hebron resident, made his way to an Israeli checkpoint in the area and pulled out a knife then stabbed two Israeli border guard personnel; wounding one in the hand and the second in the back.
Witnesses added that a large Israeli army contingent had arrived at the scene and installed several roadblocks in the Palestinian neighborhood, blocking the access of Muslim worshippers to the Al Ibrahimi mosque.
The mosque lies in the middle of Hebron, where the area is divided into two sections; a Muslim and Jewish area. The Alibrahim mosque is said to be the burial place of a number of prophets including Prophet Abraham, with Abraham’s tombstone in the middle.
Hebron has been a hot flashpoint of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. 400 Jewish settlers are occupying a large part of the Palestinian city and being guarded by thousands of Israeli soldiers and border police.
In February 1994, extremist Jewish settler Barouch Goldstien committed a massacre in the mosque, firing a machine gun at hundreds of Palestinian worshippers who were conducting the dawn prayer. Since then, an international observation mission has been monitoring and reporting on the Palestinian-Israeli clashes in the region, the latest of which was in March when 200 Israeli settlers seized a Palestinian-owned house under false allegations.
The Israeli army ordered the evacuation of the house until the settlers produced valid documents proving their alleged ownership. Several Palestinian-owned houses have been taken over and evacuated in the same manner over the past few years.