JERUSALEM (AP) — Two Palestinians were killed on Monday as they tried to stab Israeli police in the West Bank city of Hebron while a third Palestinian was shot and wounded after stabbing and wounding two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem, police said.
The two attacks followed a bloody weekend in which four Palestinians were killed while attacking Israelis, according to Israeli authorities, raising fears of a return to the near-daily Palestinian attacks seen at times over the the last year.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that in Hebron, two assailants tried to stab soldiers guarding a checkpoint, lightly wounding one officer before the troops opened fire, killing the attackers.
The officers were securing a holy site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque, Samri said.
Earlier Monday, a Palestinian stabbed two Israeli police officers outside Jerusalem’s Old City before being shot and critically wounded, Samri said. A 38-year-old female police officer suffered wounds to her neck and was badly injured, Samri added. A second officer, aged 47, was recovering from injuries.
Samri said the assailant is in his 20s and a resident of east Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem attack occurred outside Herod’s Gate, near a bustling commercial avenue of east Jerusalem. Police ordered the shops in the area closed Monday.
Over the weekend, four Palestinians, one of whom held Jordanian citizenship, were shot dead during assaults on Israelis, according to Israeli authorities.
Jordan has demanded a detailed explanation from Israel about the killing of 28-year-old Said Amro by Israeli forces. Israeli police said Amro rushed out of Jerusalem’s Old City armed with knives and tried to stab officers before being shot dead.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the Jordanian Foreign Ministry “invited” Israel’s ambassador for a discussion of the incident.
Since last September, Palestinians have killed 34 Israelis in stabbing, car ramming and shooting attacks. About 216 Palestinians have been killed in the same period. Israel says most were attackers, but the Palestinians have accused Israeli forces of using excessive force and killing people who were not assailants.
The spike in violence over the weekend spurred the Israeli military to send troop reinforcements to the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the potential for violence could rise as the Jewish high holidays approach.
Israel has blamed the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded on social media sites. The Palestinians say it is rooted in nearly 50 years of military occupation and dwindling hopes for independence.
This week Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where he plans to meet with President Barack Obama. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is visiting New York this week as well, where he is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and to address the General Assembly.
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