Israeli forces shoot, wound deaf Palestinian at checkpoint

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli security guards on Monday shot and wounded a Palestinian who is deaf and couldn’t hear their commands to stop at a West Bank checkpoint, police said, while a suspected Palestinian attacker was shot and killed in a separate incident in Jerusalem.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 60-year-old man was walking in an area of the Qalandia Crossing north of Jerusalem where only vehicles are permitted. Rosenfeld said security guards called upon the man to stop but he continued to “approach them suspiciously.”

They then opened fire toward his legs, moderately wounding him. Only after did the guards discover that the suspect did not respond because he “cannot hear or communicate,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld said later Monday that a guard involved in the shooting was detained as part of an investigation into the incident.

The incident comes less than three months after Israeli police shot and killed a 32-year-old Palestinian with severe autism. Israeli border police forces chased the man into a nook in Jerusalem’s Old City and fatally shot him as he cowered next to a garbage bin after apparently being mistaken for an attacker.

The shooting sparked criticism and calls for police to amend their open fire guidelines to take into consideration those with disabilities.

Later on Monday, police said one person was lightly wounded in a suspected stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City. Rosenfeld said the alleged attacker was shot and killed.

In recent years, lone Palestinian attackers have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings. But Palestinians and Israeli rights groups say Israeli forces often use excessive force and at times kill suspected attackers who could have been arrested.

Heba Yazbak, an Israeli lawmaker of Palestinian origin, said Monday’s incident at the crossing exposed trigger-happy Israeli forces.

“First they shoot and then they check,” she said. “The shooting of an innocent deaf Palestinian is just another example of the ease in which Israeli security forces can harm human life.”

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