Middle East

Four Palestinians killed after attacks on Israelis in West Bank

Israeli casualty being transported into hospital (04/12/15) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There have been near-daily stabbings of Israelis for the past two months

Four Palestinians have been killed after attacking Israeli soldiers in three separate incidents in the occupied West Bank, Israel says.

Two of the attacks were stabbings, while the third saw troops hit by a car. In all, four Israelis were hurt.

It is the latest in a wave of attacks, mainly stabbings, by Palestinians on Israelis since the start of October.

Nineteen Israelis and more than 100 Palestinians, mostly attackers, have been killed amid spiralling unrest.

Many of the attackers have been shot dead by their victims or security forces. Other Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank or in cross-border violence in Gaza.

Ramming attack

Two Palestinians were shot dead in a single incident after they stabbed a soldier in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, the Israeli military said.

The often tense city, divided between a Palestinian-ruled area and smaller Israeli enclave, has been a particular flashpoint for violence in recent weeks.

There have been about a dozen stabbings in the city, which have injured Israelis, with the attackers killed or wounded.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption One of the attackers used his car to run down soldiers

Hours after the attack in Hebron, a soldier was stabbed and wounded near Ramallah, before troops shot his assailant dead, the military said.

Meanwhile a Palestinian injured two soldiers by running them down near the Jewish settlement of Ofra, also near Ramallah, an army statement said.

The driver was shot dead, it said.

The surge in violence began in September when tensions at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem revered by Jews and Muslims boiled over, amid rumours that Israel planned to relax long-standing rules to strengthen Jewish rights at the complex. Israel has repeatedly denied such claims.

Most of the attacks have been carried out by individuals not known to have been acting on direct orders from militant groups.

Israel says Palestinian incitement has fuelled the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.