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Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian at Jordan crossing

An Israeli soldier walks near the scene where a Palestinian was shot dead near the West Bank city of Ramallah March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ammar
An Israeli soldier walks near the scene where a Palestinian was shot dead near the West Bank city of Ramallah March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ammar

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian judge from Jordan on Monday in an altercation at a crossing point between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military said the man had tried to seize a soldier's gun at the Allenby bridge, which spans the Jordan River, and that troops had then shot him.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah condemned what it called the "shooting at close range" by Israeli troops. It demanded an investigation, as did Jordan.

A statement from Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah's office identified the man as Raed Alaa el-Deen Za'eiter, 38, a West Bank-born judge working in Jordan.

An Israeli military official said the army was checking reports about the man's identity.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh met an Israeli diplomat in Amman after the incident and condemned the killing,

Jordan's state news agency Petra reported. Judeh called on Israel to investigate and to inform Jordan of the result. The two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994.

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 20-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank.

The military said Palestinians had hurled rocks at an Israeli vehicle and bus, and soldiers at the scene had responded with gunfire.

"A Palestinian was injured and later died of his wounds. The Military Police Corps has opened an investigation concerning the incident," the military said.

The man's relatives said he had been shot while tending his family's goats near his home.

"There were no signs of clashes in the area and it was clear by the man's clothes he was there to take care of the goats," said Laila Ghannam, Palestinian governor of nearby Ramallah.

Last month, Amnesty International published a report which said Israeli forces were using excessive violence in the West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what the rights group said might constitute a war crime.

The Israeli army dismissed the criticism, saying security forces had seen a substantial increase in Palestinian violence.

Israel, which captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war, operates a transit terminal for Palestinians and foreigners at the Allenby bridge, known in Jordan as the King Hussein bridge. A crossing for Israelis is further south.

(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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