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Palestinian girl facing Jerusalem eviction held on suspicion of stabbing Jewish neighbour

·2-min read

By Nuha Sharaf

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A Palestinian girl whose family faces eviction by Israel from an East Jerusalem neighbourhood was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of stabbing a Jewish settler in front of her children, residents and police said.

The stabbed woman, Moria Cohen, was treated in hospital for a moderate wound and released later in the day.

Long-running tensions in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah have rallied Palestinians and last May stoked a surge in fighting between Israel and Gaza's Hamas.

Israeli police said they arrested a 14-year-old female suspect at a school after the assault on a street outside. A police statement, which did not name the girl, said "a number of women close to her" had also been detained for questioning.

Cohen, who lives across from the alleged assailant, was admitted to hospital with a 30 cm (12 inch)-long knife lodged in her back, a doctor said.

Back home after treatment, Cohen was interviewed by Israel's Channel 13 television.

"She (the attacker) looked at me. I was certain she was waiting for a classmate," Cohen said as she sat on a sofa with two small children in her lap. "They are neighbours - this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen."

Residents said two sisters from the Hammad family, which is in a legal battle with settlers claiming the family's house, had been taken into custody, along with their mother. One of the sisters, Nofoud Hammad, is 14. The residents said they did not witness the reported stabbing. The family declined comment.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in a 1967 war. Palestinians want these areas for a future state.

The Palestinian families who could lose their homes in Sheikh Jarrah have lived there for decades. Settlers claim the land as theirs and have presented 19th-century documents as evidence.

Hours after the incident, about 40 pro-settlement demonstrators marched in Sheikh Jarrah, waving Israeli flags. Police barriers separated them from Palestinians down the street where families face eviction.

"Death sentence for terrorists," several signs held by the protesters read.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams, Stephen Farrell, Ammar Awad, Nisreen Salem and Dedi Hayoun; editing by Jeffrey Heller, Philippa Fletcher and Sonya Hepinstall)

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