JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian who rammed them with his car in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the Israeli military said, as a wave of violence approached its fourth month.
Almost daily Palestinian stabbings, car-rammings and shooting attacks have killed 21 Israelis and a U.S. citizen, raising fears of a wider escalation a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.
Since the start of October, Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 132 Palestinians, 82 of whom authorities described as assailants. Most of the others have been killed in clashes with security forces.
The Israeli military said a Palestinian drove his vehicle into a group of soldiers, injuring one of them, on a road by the village of Hawara, near the West Bank city of Nablus.
“The assailant was shot by forces on the site, resulting in his death,” the military said in a statement.
An Israeli civilian stabbed by a Palestinian in an attack earlier this month and a Palestinian in Gaza wounded in a stone-throwing clash with Israeli soldiers, also died of their wounds in hospital this week.
The surge in violence has been fueled by Palestinians’ frustration over Israel’s 48-year occupation of land they seek for an independent state, and the expansion of settlements in those territories which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Palestinian leaders say a younger generation sees no hope for the future living under Israeli security restrictions and with a stifled economy. The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April 2014.
Violence has also been triggered by Muslim anger over stepped-up Israeli visits to Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque complex. The site, Islam’s holiest outside Saudi Arabia, is also revered by many Jews as a vestige of their biblical temples.
Israeli leaders says Islamist groups who call for the destruction of Israel have played a major role in inciting the recent violence.
Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Andrew Heavens