Israeli troops shoot dead two Palestinian suspects
NABLUS (Palestinian Territories) - Two Palestinians tried to stab Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Saturday before being shot dead, the army said.
The attack occurred in the north of the Jordan Valley, according to a spokeswoman, who confirmed that the bodies of the two suspects were handed over to Palestinian authorities.
Twenty-two Israelis and an American have been killed in Palestinian attacks including stabbings, car rammings and gunfire targeting security forces and civilians since October 1. An Eritrean was also killed.
At the same time, 146 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out attacks.
Israel has employed a raft of security and punitive measures in a bid to stem attacks.
Overnight, the army demolished a house in the West Bank village of Surda belonging to a Palestinian who was shot dead on October 3 after killing an Israeli rabbi, the spokeswoman said.
In November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to expedite house demolitions in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which he said were "one of the most efficient tools" in discouraging Palestinian attacks.
The controversial practice, which critics claim amounts to collective punishment, is widely used in the West Bank and resumed in east Jerusalem in November after a five-year hiatus.
Also on Saturday, Israel returned the bodies of four Palestinians killed on Thursday during two attacks in the southern West Bank.
They were buried in the West Bank village of Sair.
Thousands followed their bodies as they were carried through the streets, according to a journalist on the scene.
Mohamed Kawazbeh, the brother of one of those killed, described them as "four martyr heroes".
"We are proud of them," said Ziad Kawazbeh, a father of one of the victims. "You can't have a homeland without martyrs and to liberate our country we must sacrifice our martyrs."
Israel often retains the bodies of Palestinians killed during attacks, a measure that has drawn criticism from rights groups as well as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Since the start of the year it has returned the bodies of dozens of Palestinians to their families.