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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Israel to build more settler homes after deadly knife attack

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman orders 400 homes built in Adam settlement where stabbing attack took place

Israeli security forces deploy vehicles during clashes in the village of Kobar in the occupied West Bank on July 27, 2018. AFP
Israeli security forces deploy vehicles during clashes in the village of Kobar in the occupied West Bank on July 27, 2018. AFP

Israel will build hundreds of new homes in a settlement in the occupied West Bank where a Palestinian stabbed three Israelis, one fatally, on Thursday.

"The best answer to terrorism is the expansion of settlements," Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter, announcing 400 new housing units in the Adam settlement north of Jerusalem where the attack took place.

All Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank is considered illegal by the international community.

Israel rejects the widely held view that settlement expansion is one of the greatest obstacles to peace with the Palestinians, while attacks against Israelis in the West Bank are supported by many Palestinians as pushing back against settlement growth.

The teenage assailant entered Adam on Thursday evening by climbing a fence, Israeli media reported.

He stabbed three people seemingly at random before being shot dead, the army said, naming the dead Israeli as Yotam Ovadia, 31. Israeli media said he had two young children.

The attacker was later identified by official Palestinian media as Mohammed Dar Youssef, 17, from the village of Kobar.

The army raided the village on Friday morning and said it questioned a number of Youssef's family members and suspended their work permits.

Clashes broke out during the raid between young Palestinians and soldiers firing tear gas.

"The rioters hurled large rocks and firebombs and rolled burning tyres at troops, who responded with riot dispersal means," the army said.

The clashes were over by mid-morning, although the army set up a checkpoint at the edge of the village.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said three people were arrested.

The army added it was "reinforcing the defence" of Adam and other settlements.

US President Donald Trump's special envoy Jason Greenblatt called on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah movement leads the government in the West Bank, to condemn the attack.

"Yet another barbaric attack tonight. When will President Abbas and Palestinian leaders condemn the violence?" he wrote on Twitter.

There was no response from Mr Abbas' government, which has cut ties with the Trump administration over its stance on Israel.

"Terror must be condemned by all," the United Nations envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, wrote on his Twitter account.

"Such horrible acts serve only those who stand in the way of peace."

Lone Palestinian attackers have carried out multiple deadly stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis in recent years in the West Bank, Jerusalem and elsewhere.

The West Bank attack came after a period of relative calm.

The last such assault in a West Bank settlement was in April, when a Palestinian tried to stab an Israeli with a screwdriver near a petrol station in an industrial area connected to the Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem.

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