RAMALLAH, Feb.11 (Reuters & JMCC) - A Palestinian policeman who stabbed to death an Israeli soldier in the West Bank said he was tired of living, an Israeli general said on Thursday, indicating a suicidal motive for the attack.
Mahmoud Khatib, 34, killed Ihab Chattib, a career non-commissioned officer from Israel's Druse Arab minority, at a road junction in the occupied territory on Wednesday. The assailant was then run down by an Israeli motorist and arrested.
I met this murderer shortly after the stabbing. He said he was tired of living, and this looks like something that is related to his personal circumstances, Israeli Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon said, without elaborating.
Alon's comments appeared to suggest Khatib may have hoped he would be killed while carrying out the attack on Chattib, who was sitting in a military jeep.
Israeli forces raided the home of the Palestinian suspected of stabbing and killing the Israeli soldier Wednesday, arresting six of his family members. Khatib was already in custody after the evening attack.
We didn't find any sign in his home of an organisational affiliation or of clear ideological reasons, Alon told Israel Radio.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's government, which is pursuing a law-and-order drive in the hope of sidelining Hamas rivals and preparing for statehood, issued a rare condemnation of the attack, calling for peaceful resistance to Israel.
Khatib's father, Youssef, told Reuters his son had been in the police for 10 years, most recently serving in the office of the chief of police in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
He said Khatib belonged to Abbas's Fatah faction and had left for work on Wednesday as normal.
My son is very mild-mannered and I do not believe he would do this, he said. (Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Additional reporting by Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah and Ali Sawafta, Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
CORRECTION: This story originally stated that Israeli forces demolished, not raided, the home of the Palestinian suspect.