Two Palestinians who attacked an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday were shot dead by troops at the scene, the military said in a statement.
Footage filmed by a bystander moments after the attack and seen by Reuters showed one of the two assailants lying on the ground following the stabbing, barely moving.
As Israeli ambulances arrived and soldiers milled around, one soldier appears to take aim with his weapon and shoot a round into the head of the Palestinian lying on the ground. The man’s body jerks and blood can be seen streaming from his head.
The United Nations, the European Union and the United States have backed Israel’s right to defend itself during a six-month campaign of street attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, while also urging restraint in the use of force.
Human rights groups have accused Israeli forces of too readily resorting to gunfire to wound or kill attackers rather than trying to detain them by other means. In some cases, Palestinians have been shot on suspicion that they were about to carry out an attack.
The Israeli military said it was examining the footage but had no comment at this stage.
An Israeli hospital spokeswoman said the soldier in Thursday’s attack was in stable condition and initial checks showed he had sustained light injuries.
“Two assailants stabbed an (Israeli) soldier at a military post in Hebron. Forces responded to the attack and shot the assailants, resulting in their deaths,” a statement from the Israeli military said.
The Palestinian health ministry named the two dead as Ramzi Al-Qasrawi and Abdel-Fattah Al-Sharif, both 21.
Hebron, where there is a community of around 1,000 Israeli settlers living in the middle of the city of 200,000, has been the scene of many violent incidents over the past six months.
Thursday’s attack took place inside the area where Jewish settlers live side-by-side with some Palestinian residents.
Since October, Palestinians have killed 28 Israelis and two U.S. citizens in street attacks. Israeli forces have killed at least 190 Palestinians, 129 of whom Israel says were assailants. Many others were shot dead during clashes and protests.