Three Palestinian attackers killed in new West Bank violence

The incidents were the latest in a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming assaults that erupted in October.

Nablus: Two 15-year-old Palestinians fired on Israeli soldiers before being killed in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, and another two were shot -- one fatally -- in attempted stabbings, Israeli authorities said.

The incidents were the latest in a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming assaults that erupted in October.

They came as US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power visited Israel and the Palestinian territories for talks with leaders from both sides.

In the first incident, the two teenagers attacked an Israeli patrol west of the city of Jenin with rocks before firing on soldiers with a rifle, an army statement said.

"The force responded to the shooting and fired towards the attackers, resulting in their deaths," it said.

The Palestinian health ministry named those killed as Nihad Waked and Fuad Waked, both 15 years old. They were not thought to be closely related.

Later in the day, a Palestinian tried to stab Israeli border police between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank before being shot dead, Israeli authorities said.

The Palestinian health ministry identified the assailant as Naim Safi, 17, who was from a village near Bethlehem.

Also today, a young Palestinian woman tried to stab an Israeli policeman but was shot in the attempt in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli police said.

She was taken to hospital in critical condition.

Police said the attacker drew a knife on a border police officer at a checkpoint and the officer, who was unharmed, shot her. She was identified as Yasmin al-Zaru, 20.

The incident took place close to the shared religious site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Tensions are high at the site -- a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead in a stabbing attempt there yesterday.

Since the current round of bloodshed erupted at the beginning of October, 170 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces.

Most were carrying out attacks but others died during clashes and demonstrations.

The violence has claimed the lives of 26 Israelis, as well as an American, a Sudanese and an Eritrean, according to an AFP count.

Many of the assailants have been teenagers who appear to have acted on their own.

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.