One alleged assailant dead, seven injured in three West Bank attacks

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A suspected Palestinian assailant was killed and seven people injured in three attacks in the West Bank on Sunday, as a wave of violence that erupted last month showed no signs of abating.

Four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, were injured when a Palestinian accelerated a vehicle into a hitchhiking station in the northern West Bank, police said.

The driver was shot dead by Israeli border police. The official Palestinian Wafa news agency said he was a 22-year-old from al-Bireh, near Ramallah.

In a separate attack, a Palestinian woman, 22, was shot after she stabbed a security guard at the entrance to Beitar Illit, a settlement south of Jerusalem, the military said.

Security camera footage showed her walking up to the guard, giving him her identity card, reaching into her hand bag to grab a knife and then lunging towards him.

The guard was lightly injured and shot at her. The woman, from a village near Bethlehem, was evacuated to hospital, a military spokeswoman said, contrary to earlier statements that she had been killed.

Meanwhile, at a checkpoint near the settlement of Alfei Menashe, north-east of Tel Aviv, a man said he was stabbed in a nearby Palestinian village.

The village lies on a main road used by settlers, who often buy products from local Palestinians. The Israeli said he was buying something at a stand when two men with knives attacked him and fled. He said he managed to drive to the Israeli checkpoint. He had serious stab wounds to the abdomen.

Meanwhile, a video was published online of an alleged vehicle attack on Friday in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, which Palestinians charged showed that the elderly woman driving the vehicle had not tried to run over Israeli soldiers.

The woman was not speeding toward the group of soldiers near a tank station, but driving at relative slow speed, the video seemed to show.

The family of Tharwat al-Sharawi, in her early 70s, said she had been shot by mistake and vehemently denied that she had tried to kill soldiers by deliberately crashing into them.

Other Palestinian activists went as far as to accuse Israel of having “executed” her in her car for no reason.

Israeli authorities said that a commando knife was found in her car.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old Israeli border police officer died Sunday of wounds sustained last Wednesday in a vehicle attack at a junction north of Hebron. Two other Israeli border policemen were injured when a Palestinian, allegedly deliberately, rammed a car into them. The driver was shot dead.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry says Palestinians have launched more than 60 knife attacks against Israelis since early October, as well as seven shooting attacks and eight car rammings.

Eleven Israelis have been killed in the attacks.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says 79 Palestinians have been killed in the same period. Most of them were alleged knife or vehicle attackers.

Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces, who have used tear gas and rubber bullets, as well as live ammunition and undercover commandos against Palestinians hurling rocks and petrol bombs.

It is the worst spell of street violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel and the Gaza Strip in years.

At first, most attackers came from East Jerusalem, but recently many have come from Hebron, where suspects have lunched at Israeli soldiers and border policemen, who constitute omnipresent targets in the area, because of the large number of Israeli military checkpoints in and near the Biblical city, divided into a Palestinian- and an Israeli-controlled under a 1997 agreement.

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