Three Palestinians were shot dead after stabbing and wounding an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the military said, and an American-Israeli wounded in an attack two weeks ago died of his injuries, an Israeli hospital said.
Religious and political tensions over a Jerusalem site sacred to both Muslims and Jews have fueled the worst wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence since the 2014 Gaza war.
The Israeli military said that soldiers had approached two Palestinians they found acting suspiciously at a junction near a Jewish settlement.
When the suspects stabbed and wounded one of the soldiers, they were shot and killed, a military spokesman said. Their families said they were 17 and 22 years old.
Since Oct. 1, at least 58 Palestinians, 31 of whom Israel has said were armed assailants, have been shot dead by Israelis at the scene of attacks or during protests in the West Bank and in Gaza. Many of those carrying out attacks have been teenagers.
Palestinians are angry over what they see as excessive use of force by Israeli police and soldiers. Israel says it is justified in using lethal force to meet deadly threats.
Amnesty International said on Tuesday that it has found some of the killings of Palestinians have been unjustified and that Israeli forces were using “extreme and unlawful measures.”
In a statement the rights group said it has documented at least four cases in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead without posing an imminent threat, “in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions.”
The number of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks rose to 11 after the death of American-Israeli Richard Lakin, 76, who had been wounded in a Palestinian stabbing and shooting attack on a Jerusalem bus.
Lakin, a former school principal in Glastonbury, Connecticut, moved to Israel in the early 1980s. A Facebook page that appeared to have been set up by his family said that in Jerusalem, he had taught students of an Arab-Jewish school which is a rare example of co-existence in the city.
Lakin was stabbed and shot in an Oct. 13 assault that killed two other bus passengers. His death was announced by Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, and on Twitter, the U.S. ambassador to Israel called it “devastating news”.
Israeli security forces, responding to the bus attack, shot dead one of the assailants and captured the other, police said.
While tensions remain high, the focus of the Palestinian attacks appears to have shifted over the past few days from Jerusalem and cities across Israel to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and their frequency has also declined.
But there has been no apparent action toward implementing a Jordanian proposal, promoted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to try to stem the bloodshed – by installing cameras to monitor Jerusalem’s flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound.
Increasing numbers of religious Jews visiting the compound – which is Islam’s holiest site outside Saudi Arabia and revered in Judaism as the location of two destroyed biblical temples – have led to Palestinian allegations that Israel is violating a “status quo” under which Jewish prayer there is banned.
Israel has pledged to abide by the long-standing arrangement.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority complained of “continued assaults on sacred sites” and said Palestinians would press on with what it termed a “peaceful uprising” until Israel’s occupation of land captured in a 1967 war ends.
In a speech on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to continue to fight what he called Palestinian “incitement and terrorism.”
On Tuesday, a Jerusalem District court sentenced Israeli-Arab Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern section to 11 months in jail for incitement to violence over comments he made in a 2007 sermon.
Netanyahu has accused the Islamic Movement’s northern section of stirring up the violence and has moved to have it outlawed.
Update: Three Palestinians were shot dead after stabbing Israeli soldier. In the earlier version Reuters reported that 2 were killed
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