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SHEIKH JARRAH: Israeli soldiers detain a man holding a Palestinian flag during a demonstration on Friday to denounce the evacuation of Palestinian families from their homes and settlement activity in the occupied territories.—AFP

JERUSALEM: Israeli troops on Friday shot dead a Palestinian man who allegedly attempted to stab soldiers and civilians at a bus stop in the occupied West Bank, the military said.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the death of the alleged assailant, identifying him as Amir Atef Rayyan.

The army said the attempted stabbing took place near the Gitain Avisar junction in the West Bank.

The Palestinian, it said, approached a military post in a car “and got out of the vehicle armed with a knife”.

The man “ran towards the bus station where civilians and IDF soldiers were standing. The troops fired towards the assailant and neutralised him”, the army added.

An army spokesperson confirmed that the Palestinian was dead.

The army said there were no injuries among the Israelis.

Troops sealed off roads in the area while others chased the vehicle that had dropped off the alleged assailant, looking for more suspects.

According to the Israeli army’s annual report, 100 attacks were carried out in 2021 against Israelis in the West Bank, up from 60 a year earlier.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recorded 410 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the first 10 months of 2021, compared to 358 in the whole of 2020.

The latest attack came after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas made a rare visit Wednesday to Israel for talks with Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

After the talks at Gantz’s home, Israel unveiled a package of “confidence-building measures” for the West Bank.

Tensions have been running high in the occupied territory in recent weeks.

The West Bank has seen a series of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis and the killings of Palestinians by Israeli troops during clashes since late November.

In the latest attack on Dec 21, a Palestinian man tried to ram Israeli soldiers with his car near the West Bank town of Jenin.

The man crashed his car into a military jeep after being shot, causing both vehicles to burst into flames, the military said at the time.

On Dec 19, the army said it had arrested four Palestinian men suspected of shooting dead a Jewish settler and wounding two others days earlier.

The four are suspected of firing at least 10 bullets at a car, killing 25-year-old religious student Yehuda Dimentman and wounding two fellow students as they drove out of Homesh, an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank.

United Nations Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said in December he was “alarmed by the escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, which is claiming the lives of Israelis and Palestinians”.

Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 from Jordan. Nearly 500,000 Israelis have moved into settlements in the territory, which much of the international community regard as illegal.

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