Middle East

Israeli woman and soldier killed in two knife attacks

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Media captionThe second attack took place near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Alon Shvut

Two Israelis have been killed in separate knife attacks in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank.

The first attack in Tel Aviv targeted a soldier. A Palestinian from the West Bank city of Nablus was arrested.

An Israeli woman was later stabbed to death near the Alon Shvut Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The assailant was shot by a security guard.

The stabbings come at a time of heightened tension between Israel and the Palestinians.

At the weekend, Israeli Arabs threw stones at police in mainly Arab towns in Israel after police shot dead a young Arab man, who they said had attacked them with a knife.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "defeat terrorism" against Israel, saying those citizens who denounced the Jewish state should go and live in the Palestinian territories instead.

'Serious condition'

The West Bank attack took place at the entrance to the Alon Shvut settlement.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The attacker in the West Bank crashed his car then got out to stab those at a bus stop

The attacker tried to run over people in his car, hit a concrete barrier then got out of the vehicle, reports said.

He then stabbed the 26-year-old woman, named by Israeli media as Dalia Lamkus, along with two other Israelis at a bus stop. The two injured men were taken to hospital.

The attacker was shot several times by a security guard and was taken from the scene in a serious condition, emergency services said.

Earlier reports had said the woman was a 14-year-old girl.

The attack took place close to where three Israeli students were abducted and killed by Palestinian militants in June, an incident which led to the revenge killing in Jerusalem of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists.

Tensions then escalated into a 50-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

Deteriorating security

Monday's earlier incident in Tel Aviv took place at a busy train station and was described by police as a "terror attack".

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The earlier attack in Tel Aviv left an Israeli soldier wounded

The soldier later died of his wounds, a spokesman at Tel-Hashomer hospital said, and was named by Israeli media as Almog Shiloni, 20.

BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly says there has been no real pattern to the recent spate of attacks - the attackers appear to have acted suddenly, meaning there is no advance intelligence to forewarn the authorities.

In two other attacks in the past three weeks, Palestinian militants rammed vehicles into pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing four people. Both attackers were shot dead.

A Palestinian suspected of shooting and wounding a prominent right-wing activist, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, in Jerusalem at the end of last month was also shot dead in a gun battle with Israeli police.

Our correspondent says that many Israelis feel the security situation has been deteriorating, with the summer conflict in Gaza, the dispute over rights of prayer at a holy site in Jerusalem and continuing Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem all factors in a worsening atmosphere.