3 Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces in the West Bank
Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian during a protest on Tuesday near Bethlehem, while a Palestinian who tried to stab an Israeli soldier in near Hebron was also killed, the Israeli military said.
"A Palestinian attacker, armed with a knife, attempted to stab a soldier securing the Beit Einun junction near Hebron," an army statement said. "Responding to the imminent threat, forces at the scene fired towards the assailant, resulting in his death."
The Palestinian was not initially identified, but locals suggested he was from the nearby village of Shayoukh.
Local witnesses told local Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli soldiers shot at least one Palestinian near the junction, before "surrounding him and preventing ambulances from approaching the area".
A second man, who the army said had driven the attacker to the scene, was shot and injured as he fled.
Palestinian security sources said he later died at the al-Mizan Hospital in Hebron, with the health ministry identifying the alleged attacker as 23-year-old Mohammed Kowazba and the driver as 17-year-old Adnan al-Mashti.
Earlier, a Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces in Beit Jala, a town near Bethlehem.
Srour Abu Srour, aged 21, from Aida refugee camp, was taking part in a protest against the Israeli raid into Beit Jala before he was shot in the chest.
The protests were near the Beit Jala Hospital, where Abu Srour was rushed befor being announced dead.
The Israeli raid of the Bethlehem district occured after gunshots were reportedly fired from a moving car at the Container checkpoint northeast of Bethlehem.
Several checkpoints haven been set up in the towns surrounding Bethlehem.
The car was reportedly found, although the gunmen were not.
Twenty-three Israelis and an American have been killed in Palestinian attacks including stabbings, car rammings and gunfire since 1 October. An Eritrean was also killed.
At the same time, 148 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out alleged attacks.
In related news on Tuesday, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called for "thorough" investigations into the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli army in recent months.
"It is essential that thorough and credible investigations be conducted concerning these deaths with the aim of providing clarity and bringing about possible accountability," Wallstrom said.
Wallstrom was responding to a question in Sweden's parliament by an opposition member on the controversy raised in December by her statement on the need for Israel to avoid "extrajudicial executions".