January 2, 2011 / 8:52 AM / 9 years ago

Israeli troops kill Palestinian at West Bank checkpoint

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops Sunday shot and killed a Palestinian who approached them at a West Bank checkpoint holding a glass bottle, the Israeli military and Palestinian officials said.

Palestinian women mourn during the funeral of Ahmed Muslamani in the West Bank town of Tubas, north of Nablus, January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini

A military spokeswoman said the man, identified by Palestinian officials as 24-year-old Ahmed Muslamani, did not heed orders to halt and they opened fire as he came closer.

Muslamani was shot in the chest and leg, said a Palestinian medical worker who collected the body at the Israeli military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus.

The military spokeswoman said she did not know the contents of the glass bottle. “The soldiers apparently felt threatened,” she said.

Violence in the occupied West Bank has largely tapered off in the past few years as a result of security measures by Israel and a bolstered Palestinian police force supervised by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s government.

But Saturday, a Palestinian woman died the day after inhaling gas fired by Israeli forces quelling a protest a day earlier against Israel’s West Bank barrier near the village of Bilin, a senior Palestinian medical official said.

The Israeli military said troops had fired tear gas at stone throwers and the circumstances of the woman’s death were under investigation.

Richard Miron, spokesman for United Nations Middle East envoy Robert Serry, said they were “awaiting the full facts of these tragic fatalities” and urged Israel to protect the civilian population and refrain from using excessive force.

In other violence Sunday, militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel. Israeli aircraft attacked targets in the Hamas-controlled territory, wounding two Palestinians, medical officials said.

The Israeli military said it targeted a “Hamas terror activity center in northern Gaza and a weapons manufacturing facility in central Gaza” in response to the continued cross-border rocket attacks.

Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi, writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jon Boyle

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