BBC News
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

A Palestinian man accused of killing an Israeli soldier in the West Bank may have been suicidal, the Israeli military has said.

A senior military officer who spoke to alleged killer Mohammed Khatib, 34, told journalists "he said he was tired of living". Sgt Maj Ihab Khatib, 26, was stabbed in the chest as he sat in a 4x4 army vehicle on Wednesday. The attack has been condemned by the Palestinian Fatah movement.

'Personal circumstances'

Mohammed Khatib, who is not related to the victim, is a senior police officer working for Fatah.
Investigations by security services have failed to link the stabbing to militant groups or a wider plot.
Brigadier General Nitzan Alon said he had spoken to the suspect personally.

"I met this murderer shortly after the stabbing. He said he was tired of living and this looks like something that was related to his personal circumstances," Brig Gen Alon said.

Israeli media suggested this was an indication Mr Khatib may have hoped he would be killed as he carried out the alleged attack.

Sgt Maj Khatib, a Druze non-commissioned officer in the elite Kfir Brigade, had tried to drive away, but had lost consciousness and his vehicle flipped over, the authorities said. Israeli media reported Mr Khatib's car had been halted when a security officer from a nearby settlement rammed it.


Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian has been killed and three others injured in two Israeli attacks. A spokesman said the Israeli air force had killed a man preparing to fire a Qassam rocket into Israel and injured another.

The Israeli Defence Force identified the dead man as Fares Ahmed Jaber, 26, of Islamic Jihad.
Earlier, two sisters, aged five and 13, had been injured in cross-fire between Palestinian men and Israeli troops, Israeli media reported.


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