Death of stabbed Israeli woman raises pressure on Netanyahu

Jean-Luc Renaudie
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Israeli forensic policemen and security forces walk past an ambulance carrying the body of a Palestinian following a stabbing attack in the Beit Horon settlement in the West Bank, on January 25, 2016

Israeli forensic policemen and security forces walk past an ambulance carrying the body of a Palestinian following a stabbing attack in the Beit Horon settlement in the West Bank, on January 25, 2016 (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Jerusalem (AFP) - An Israeli woman stabbed and killed by two Palestinians in a West Bank settlement was buried on Tuesday, as pressure mounted on Benjamin Netanyahu's government to stem a fresh wave of attacks.

A spokeswoman for Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital said Shlomit Krigman, 24, had died after being admitted on Monday in the wake of the attack.

She was buried in a Jerusalem cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.

Another woman wounded in the same Monday attack outside a grocery store in Beit Horon settlement, northwest of Jerusalem, was hospitalised in moderate condition.

The two attackers, identified by Palestinian media as Ibrahim Allan, 23, and Hussein Abu Ghosh, 17, were shot dead by a security guard.

They had tried to enter the store armed with knives but were blocked by an employee who used a shopping cart, CCTV images showed.

Police also found and defused three pipe bombs the assailants had thrown at the shop but which did not explode.

A childhood friend of Krigman told Israeli public radio she grew up in the West Bank and had previously been close to the religious nationalist movement. She had recently completed studies in industrial design.

The attack was the third inside a West Bank settlement since January 17, when an Israeli woman was stabbed to death by a 15-year-old Palestinian at the entrance to her home in Otniel.

A day later, an Israeli woman was stabbed and wounded by a 17-year-old Palestinian in Tekoa.

Violence since October 1 has killed 159 Palestinians and 25 Israelis, as well as an American and an Eritrean, according to an AFP count.

- Four women stabbed -

Before January 17, Jewish settlements built on land occupied by Israel in 1967 and considered illegal by much of the international community had been spared much of the violence.

Women were also not targeted in the attacks.

But Monday's stabbings and the discovery of explosive devices have increased domestic pressure on the Israeli government, which derives much of its support from the settler community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook message on Monday that he had instructed the army to submit a "comprehensive plan" to better ensure the security of settlements.

He also announced that he would revoke the work permits of the attackers' relatives, which allow them to be employed in the settlements or in Israel.

The army also sealed off all access to the Palestinian village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, home of one of the two attackers and which is close to Beit Horon, an army spokesman said.

Only "humanitarian cases" can enter or leave the village, he said.

The army also took steps to "strengthen security" in the settlements, added the spokesman without elaborating.

Most of the Palestinians killed since October have been attackers, while others have been shot dead by Israeli forces during protests and clashes.

About 400,000 Israeli settlers live alongside around 2.5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Approximately 27,000 Palestinians have work permits in the settlements where they can earn far higher salaries than elsewhere in the West Bank, according to Israeli data.

The United States, the United Nations and the European Union oppose all Israeli settlement building, and consider them an obstacle to peace.

The Israeli defence ministry, however, has approved the construction of 153 new settler homes in the West Bank, the Israeli settlement watchdog Peace now said on Monday.

The move mark the end of an informal construction freeze in the Palestinian territory that lasted 18 months, the NGO said.

US-backed peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter mutual recriminations.

A chief grievance of the Palestinians was settlement building on land they claim for a future state.