Palestinian shot dead after alleged attack on Israeli troops
A Palestinian teenager tried to stab an Israeli soldier near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday before being shot dead, officials said, in the latest death in a flare-up of violence.
"An assailant armed with a knife attempted to stab an IDF (Israel army) soldier at a checkpoint at the entrance to (the village of) Bani Naim," an Israeli army statement said.
"Responding to the immediate threat, forces fired at the assailant, resulting in his death."
The Palestinian health ministry identified the alleged assailant as Issa Tarayra, 16, from Bani Naim.
Tuesday's incident was the ninth since Friday, coming after Palestinians wrapped up the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha and as Israel tightened security ahead of major Jewish holidays in October.
The upsurge has shattered several weeks of relative calm.
The recent attacks have mostly taken place in and around Hebron in the occupied West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem.
An Israeli policewoman stabbed outside Jerusalem's Old City on Monday was in serious condition in intensive care.
Following that attack, which also left another police officer with moderate wounds, Israeli authorities closed Palestinian shops in the area.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the closures were ordered for officers to search the area, but some shop owners questioned whether it was punishment for the stabbing.
The assailant in that case was shot and seriously wounded. Surveillance video showed him approaching the officers from behind before stabbing them.
The Israeli army called the recent escalation "further testament to the ongoing influence of incitement on the Palestinian street and social media networks".
An Israeli security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was the possibility of a "copycat effect" of one attack influencing another.
The official said tensions may also be rising because of Palestinian "online incitement" against Jewish visits to the Old City's ultra-sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound which are expected to increase during next month's holidays.
The compound is the third holiest site for Muslims and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
It is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians fearing that Israel will eventually seek to assert further control over it.
Since October, 230 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed in ongoing violence, according to an AFP count.
Israel says most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. Others were shot dead during protests or killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza.
Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with the Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have helped feed the unrest.
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