Two Palestinian attackers killed as civilians intervene

Jerusalem: Two Palestinians, including a teen, attacked Israelis with knives and a car in the occupied West Bank today and were killed when civilians and security forces intervened, the latest in a nearly two-month wave of violence.

No Israelis were reported seriously wounded in the separate attacks, which occurred after the violence had shown signs of subsiding last week before a new series of assaults began Thursday.

With the attacks defying international efforts to restore calm, US Secretary of State John Kerry is to travel to Israel and the West Bank to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday.

Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated that the attackers appeared to be acting on their own, posing a challenge to security forces.

“This is not terrorism by organisations,” he said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

“This is terrorism by individuals, occasionally with kitchen knives, who are incited mainly by social media. It is very difficult to hermetically prevent the arrival of such knife-wielding, or other, terrorists to this or that place.”

He said “citizens must be on maximum alert”.

Sunday’s first attack saw a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who tried to stab an Israeli civilian run over by a Jewish settler then shot dead by soldiers.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the attack occurred at a junction south of Nablus, adding that “forces and a bystander responded to the immediate threat, shooting the attacker”.

Palestinian security officials confirmed she had died of her wounds and identified her as Asheraqat Qatanani, from Askar refugee camp near Nablus.

A Jewish settler in the area, Gershon Mesika, told army radio he hit the assailant with his car before a soldier shot her.

Later, a Palestinian driving a taxi attempted to ram into civilians then charged at them with a knife before being shot dead by a civilian, police said.

The statement provided no further details on the civilian. A hospital spokeswoman said a 51-year-old Israeli was lightly wounded by the car ramming.

The attacks were the latest in the wave of violence since October 1 that has left 88 dead on the Palestinian side, including one Arab Israeli, as well as 15 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean.