PA Policeman Kills IDF Soldier

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JERUSALEM, Israel - IDF Sgt. 1st Class Ihab Khatib, 28, died Wednesday afternoon en route to the hospital after being knifed by a senior Palestinian police officer.

Khatib was in his vehicle at the traffic light at the Tapuach junction, south of Nablus, when Sgt.-Major Mahmoud Yusef Nimer Hattib, a senior PA security officer from Ramallah, approached him, pulled a knife and stabbed him in his chest.

Khatib managed to drive a short distance before losing consciousness, causing his car to spin out of control. He was treated at the scene, but succumbed to his wounds on the way to the hospital.

A security officer from the Jewish community of Rehlim bumped the attacker with his vehicle, lightly injuring him, and IDF soldiers took him into custody.

Khatib, the oldest son in the family, served as a noncommissioned officer in the IDF's elite Kfir Brigade.

"He was a boy with a heart of gold who loved to help everyone and loved to serve in the military so he continued even after his mandatory service was completed," said his uncle Saliman Khatib.

Khatib, from the Samarian Druze village of Maghar, is survived by his parents, three sisters and two brothers. He will be buried on Thursday afternoon in Maghar's military cemetery.

Early Thursday morning, IDF forces entered Hattib's home, confiscated computers, and took six members of his family in for questioning. The family was advised to evacuate the home, which will be razed.

According to local residents, Hattib, a member of the PA's Fatah faction and senior member of the police force, was well-respected in the community.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the murder.

Last month, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a car near Shavei Shomron, killing 45-year-old Meir Avshalom, a father of seven.

Since the beginning of the year, IDF security forces have confiscated more than 20 knives and a dozen explosive devices in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

The IDF Central Command has noted rising motivation by Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to carry out terror attacks.

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Ynet news contributed to this report.

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