Three Palestinians shot dead, two after attacking Israelis
Three Palestinians were shot dead on Friday, two while carrying out attacks and a third in clashes, the latest in a more than four months of violence.
In the first attack, a man stabbed and wounded two policemen outside Jerusalem\’s Damascus Gate before they shot him dead.
"A terrorist attacked a squad of officers from behind, stabbed and wounded them lightly, the squad responded with fire and neutralised the terrorist," police said.
Police confirmed the death of the assailant and identified him as a 20-year-old Palestinian from Kafr Aqeb.
A spokeswoman for the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem said they had admitted two men in their 20s suffering from stab wounds, and both were in a stable condition.
Medics said they also treated a 50-year-old woman for a light leg wound, apparently as a result of the shooting, before evacuating her to a hospital in east Jerusalem.
The site of the attack, in annexed east Jerusalem and adjacent to its Old City, has been a focal point in the latest wave of violence.
Later on Friday, a Palestinian tried to run over Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank and was shot dead, the army said.
"During a violent riot in Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, an assailant attempted to ram his vehicle into soldiers," an army statement said, referring to an area in the northern West Bank.
"The soldiers responded to the immediate threat and fired towards the assailant, resulting in his death."
Palestinian police sources identified the man as Raed Hamed, 20.
Later, a third Palestinian died after being shot during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
A Palestinian health ministry statement said Khaled Taqatqa, 21, was shot dead by Israeli forces in Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.
The army said he had fired on soldiers.
Ten Palestinians were also injured in separate clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, the health ministry said.
Since October 1, Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks have taken the lives of 27 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean, according to an AFP count.
At the same time, 175 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out attacks but others during clashes and demonstrations.
Some analysts say Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have fed the unrest.
Israel blames incitement by Palestinian leaders and media as a main cause of the violence.
International efforts to halt the violence have so far failed.
Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said the violence showed "no sign of relenting".
"The current trends on the ground — including continued acts of violence against civilians, ongoing settlement activity, and the high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures — are dangerously imperilling the viability of a two-state solution," he said.
Speaking in a Thursday briefing to the UN Security Council, Mladenov noted the accelerated rate of Israeli demolitions of Palestinian structures in the West Bank in 2016 — 29 per week, "three times the weekly average for 2015".
"The conflict has now arrived at a pivotal point," he said.
"Against the backdrop of radicalisation, terror, sectarian violence, war and tectonic geo-political shifts in the Middle East, peace and security for Palestine and Israel is an imperative now more than ever."
Mladenov also called on "authorities on both sides do more to address this scourge".
"I am particularly concerned that some Palestinian factions continue to glorify violence and terror. Such acts only contribute to tensions and violence," he said.