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Palestinian dies, another shot as tensions high in West Bank

The incidents involving a Palestinian teenager and 21-year-old in Hebron come as Israeli forces prepare to seal off the West Bank for 36 hours
Israeli security forces stand guard behind burning tires during clashes with Palestinian protesters following an anti-Israeli protest after the weekly prayers last Friday in Hebron (AFP)

A Palestinian died during an Israeli army operation in the southern West Bank before dawn on Tuesday as he handled a makeshift explosive, while troops shot a woman who allegedly tried to stab a soldier.

Both incidents occurred in the Hebron area with tensions running high ahead of the Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha holidays and after three days of clashes rocked Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound last week.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said 21-year-old Dia al-Talahmeh was killed by an explosive device he intended to toss at a military vehicle. His body, she said, was discovered by a patrol deployed to clear stones blocking a road. 

Palestinian security officials and a local committee spokeman however said he was shot dead by Israeli troops during a raid in a village near Hebron. 

Separately on Tuesday morning, Israeli troops shot and wounded an 18-year-old Palestinian at a checkpoint near the centre of Hebron, witnesses said. The Israeli military said she had attempted to stab a soldier.

A string of incidents between the army and Palestinians in the Hebron area had also occurred during the day on Monday, residents said.

The incidents come after repeated clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the al-Aqsa Mosque Comple last week. Tensions over the consecutive days of clashes at the site peaked last Friday as hundreds of Israeli police were deployed into Jerusalem's Old City and checkpoints were set up to bar Muslim men under the age of 40 from prayers at the mosque.

Fighting also erupted in East Jerusalem and several West Bank towns between protesters demonstrating against the restriction of Muslims to Aqsa and Israeli police as well as Palestinian Authority security forces. 

Middle East Eye caught on video a moment in which several PA police officers beat a young Palestinian protester near Azza Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The video footage quickly circulated on social media and the incident was condemned by high-ranking PA officials, who said the officers involved were being disciplined.

Just two days later, a demonstration against the PA in Bethlehem was dispersed when a plain-clothes police officer fired live bullets at demonstrators, with no injuries reported.

There are concerns that violence could flare during the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday which begins at sundown on Tuesday and the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday which starts on Wednesday evening and continues until Sunday.

Israel has deployed thousands of police in Jerusalem and is sealing off the West Bank for 36 hours from noon on Tuesday until midnight on Wednesday.

Border crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip will also be closed during the same period, according to a statement from the Israeli military reported in Haaretz.

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