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Fear and Violence Reign as Stabbings Continue in Israel, West Bank

by Reuters and Ranna Khalil /  / Updated 

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Israel and the West Bank endured another day of fear and violence, with an Israeli soldier and police officer wounded in knife attacks and five Palestinian assailants shot dead Saturday.

The latest of five incidents occurred Saturday evening at the Qalandya checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank, police said. A “drunken” Palestinian attempted to stab a policeman, and he was shot and wounded, according to Israeli police. They said a bomb disposal officer arrived and began checking the suspect, who pulled another knife and tried to stab the officer; a border policeman shot him dead.

Earlier, four Palestinians were shot dead in thwarted attacks in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and Jerusalem as tensions ran high after more than two weeks of unrest, according to police and the Israeli army.

One of the people killed in the Hebron violence was identified by YNET as an 18-year-old man, and another was identified by Ma’an News as a 17-year-old woman.

A female police officer was lightly wounded in the hand during one of the attacks in Hebron, according to a police spokeswoman. And an Israeli soldier was stabbed and moderately wounded in another Hebron attack, according to the Israeli army.

Dozens more were injured in clashes Saturday throughout the West Bank and Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

At least 40 Palestinians and seven Israelis have died in the recent street violence, which was in part triggered by Palestinians' anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Related: 'Despicable': Rioters Set Fire to Joseph's Tomb

Israel says it is keeping the status quo at the holy compound, which is also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.

The violence has mostly occurred in Jerusalem and the West Bank but it has also erupted along the Gaza-Israel border. On Saturday, Israel's army defused a rocket it said had been fired by Gaza militants overnight, landing in an open area.

Related: How Israeli's Are Dealing with the Latest Violence

The street violence, some of the worst in years, has been intensified by conflicting witness accounts and amateur video that has been interpreted in different ways. In some cases, witnesses gave accounts that were later shown by video footage to be false.

Peace talks collapsed in 2014 over Israeli settlement-building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Palestinians seek for a state, and after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas angered Israel by reaching a unity deal with the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

The last major confrontation was the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014, which left large sections of Gaza destroyed. Around 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 Israelis, most of them soldiers, were killed.

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