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New Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv amid Israeli crackdown

Palestinians with Israeli citizenships stage general strike inside Israel
A Palestinian protester throws a tear gas canister back during clashes with Israeli security forces at the main entrance of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on 12 October 2015 (AFP)

An attacker in a car drove into a central Jerusalem bus stop on Tuesday before attacking people at the scene with a knife, Israeli police said, as violence in Israel continued to spread.

There were no immediate details on possible casualties.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded a passerby north of Tel Aviv Tuesday before being detained by civilians in the area, police said.

The victim was "moderately" wounded in the stabbing near a bus station in Raanana, police said.

They described the attacker as a 22-year-old Palestinian from east Jerusalem and said he was taken to hospital with serious injuries after being beaten by residents.

It was the 21st stabbing attack in Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank since 3 October.

One revenge attack occurred last week, when a Jewish man stabbed and wounded two Arab Israelis and two Palestinians in the southern Israeli city of Dimona.

Israeli media also reported that a Palestinian gunman and another carrying a knife attacked passengers in a bus in Jerusalem.

The unconfirmed media report also said that one of the Palestinians was shot dead by Israeli forces.

The attacks along with protests in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank have led to warnings that a full-scale Palestinian uprising, or third intifada, could erupt.

Inside Israel, Palestinians with Israeli citizenships started observing a general strike on Tuesday.  

Unrest has also spread to the Gaza Strip, with clashes along the border in recent days leaving nine Palestinians dead from Israeli fire.

On Monday evening, dozens of Gaza residents broke through the border fence and briefly entered Israel before being pushed back by troops, Palestinian witnesses said.

Medical officials said two men were injured by army fire.

27 Palestinians killed

Israeli security forces have reportedly killed 27 Palestinians this month alone amid the ongoing violence in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Three Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces on Monday following alleged stabbing attacks.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that a Palestinian young man was shot dead after allegedly attacking and injuring an Israeli soldier inside a bus.

According to Israeli police, the attack occurred after a Palestinian attempted to steal the weapon of an Israeli soldier inside a bus at Jaffa Street area located in Western Jerusalem.

The Palestinian was shot dead and the Israeli soldier was slightly injured, Israeli police said.

Earlier on Monday, Mustafa Adel al-Khatib, a 17-year-old Palestinian, was shot dead for allegedly stabbing an Israeli police officer at the Old City of Jerusalem’s Lion's Gate, the site of several previous knife attacks.

Two Palestinian children were also shot by Israeli police in Biet Hanina neighborhood, southern occupied East Jerusalem, for alleged stabbing attack on settlers.

One of the two children, 12-year-old Ahmad Manasra died, while 14-year-old Hasan Manasara was left to bleed in the street; according to medics, Manasara's condition remains "very serious".

Israeli police also shot and injured Farahi Bajri, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl, after she allegedly tried to stab an officer near their headquarters in East Jerusalem.

According to Palestinian Health Ministry figures, Monday’s deaths bring the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of October to 27. 

A total of 15 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and 11 in the Gaza strip, in addition to 1,300 Palestinians who were shot and hurt by Israeli gunfire, the ministry said.

Increased security

A recent wave of Palestinian knife attacks in Jerusalem and Israel has prompted Israeli authorities to step up security, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordering the deployment 16 battalions of the paramilitary Border Police.

Jerusalem's teeming Old City, in particular, has seen a significant increase in the presence of security forces, with troops stationed on rooftops and at numerous checkpoints throughout the city, especially near the homes of Israeli settlers.

Recent days have also seen frequent clashes in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem between Palestinian youth and Israeli security forces, who typically respond with teargas, rubber-coated bullets and live fire.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Sunday released a statement saying that the use of live ammunition against protesters, unless in self-defense, was unlawful.

The group made the assertion after one of its researchers was struck by a rubber bullet during a protest in the West Bank.

"Indiscriminate or deliberate firing on observers and demonstrators who pose no imminent threat violates the international standards to which the Israeli security forces are bound," the watchdog’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth said.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official, accused Israel on Sunday of inciting violence against Palestinians, citing recent calls by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat for all Jewish Israelis to carry licensed firearms.

"Israel is provoking violence in Jerusalem and creating a situation of instability as cover to exercise control over the Al-Aqsa Mosque [Islam's third holiest site], transform the character of Jerusalem, annex more Palestinian land and step up its illegal settlement-building activities," Ashrawi said.

After a Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that the Al-Aqsa mosque was at the centre of the violence, going on to assert that recent Palestinian knife attacks were a result of "incitement" by Palestinian groups.

Netanyahu also called for an investigation of Hanin Zoabi, a Palestinian lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, who reportedly called for a popular Palestinian uprising in a recent interview. 

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