Knife-wielding Palestinian girl, 14, arrested at checkpoint

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israeli soldiers arrested a teenage girl who approached a checkpoint near Jerusalem holding a knife.

The girl, 14 according to the Ma’an news agency, approached the Qalandiya checkpoint on Thursday evening while holding the knife in her right hand and wearing a white cloth over her mouth.

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A video released by Israeli authorities shows an Israeli officer spraying mace into her face before wrestling her to the ground and subduing her.

According to Israel Today, Border Police officers fired warning shots in the air when they saw her approaching but she kept walking toward them. The paper reported she was from Beit Duqu near Ramallah.

Earlier Thursday, a 20-year-old man from Jerusalem was arrested on suspicion that he stole a firearm from a security guard for the city’s light rail and concealed it in a garbage container.

Palestinian officials have attributed recent disturbances and terrorist attacks in Jerusalem in part to Israel allowing some Knesset members to visit the Temple Mount, located in a compound containing sites holy both to Jews and to Muslims.

Israeli officials blame Palestinian incitement for the attacks.

Khaled Meshal, a leader of the Islamic Hamas movement, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “playing with fire” when he allowed the visit.

“When he [Netanyahu] allows members of his government, the Knesset and the extremists to repeatedly storm the al Aqsa mosque, that’s dangerous,” Meshal said in an interview aired Friday by Sky News. “Our fight is a national fight but he is turning it into a religious fight.”

Meshal blamed Netanyahu for the Nov. 18 attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in which Palestinian assailants murdered four worshippers and a policeman, saying it was an expression of “Palestinian anger.”