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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli man was killed and his wife injured in what appeared to be an attack by Palestinian militants outside their home in a West Bank settlement overnight Friday, Israeli officials said on Friday.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the middle-aged couple had apparently heard noises in their backyard and when the man stepped outside to investigate, he was attacked by at least two suspects wielding knives and axes.
The man's wife was injured but managed to flee and call for help, Rosenfeld said.
"The assessment is that the background for the attack is nationalistic," Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Israel Radio, referring to an attack carried out by Palestinian militants.
But officials said they had yet to rule out the possibility it was a criminal incident.
Violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has risen in the past few weeks.
A nine-year-old Jewish girl was shot and seriously wounded last week in what police said was a suspected Palestinian militant attack. And last month two Israeli soldiers were killed in the territory in two separate incidents.
Four Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since July, when Israel and the Palestinians restarted peace talks after a three-year stalemate.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by John Stonestreet