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Israeli forces kill Palestinian assailant in West Bank: police

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces on Wednesday shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian woman who police said had advanced towards them with a knife in her hand at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

A police spokesman said the woman was shot after ignoring orders to halt.

Over the past year, Palestinians, many acting alone and often using rudimentary weapons, have killed at least 35 Israelis and two visiting Americans in mainly street attacks.

At least 222 Palestinians have died in violent incidents in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Of those, 150 were identified by Israeli authorities as assailants while others were killed during clashes and protests.

Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive force and say that some of those killed posed no threat or had no intention of attacking anyone. In some cases, Israel has opened investigations into whether excessive force was used.

No Israelis were hurt in Wednesday’s incident at a junction near the Palestinian city of Nablus, police said. Ten days ago, a Palestinian shot dead a pedestrian and a police officer in Jerusalem before being killed by Israeli gunfire.

Palestinian leaders say the assailants are acting out of desperation over the collapse in 2014 of peace talks and the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land that Palestinians seek for an independent state.

Israel says anti-Israeli incitement by Palestinian officials and on social media networks is stoking the violence.

Some individuals, family members have said, carried out what were effectively suicide attacks to escape personal problems at home.

Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Jeffrey Heller/Mark Heinrich