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Gunmen attack Jerusalem commuters

Israeli police have shot and killed two Palestinians who had opened fire twice and wounded a 50-year-old man. The violence coincides with Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel.

A pair of Palestinian attackers opened fire on Israeli civilians on Wednesday in two separate shootings that left one man seriously injured, Israeli police said.

The first incident occurred in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, police said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says passengers on a bus spotted the two gunmen and heard gunfire. A motorist responded by shooting toward the suspects, who fled by car, from his own vehicle.

A short time later, outside Jerusalem's Old City, the pair opened fire again, seriously wounding a 50-year-old man. Medics said the victim may have been an Israeli Arab from East Jerusalem.

In the chase that followed, one of the Palestinian assailants wounded another officer before he was shot and killed, police said.

Israel Jerusalem Altstadt Schaulustige nach Schießerei

The assailants' vehicle bore signs of the shootings

US vice president visiting Israel

The shootings follow a series of deadly stabbings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the port city of Jaffa, and coincide with US Vice President Joe Biden's two-day visit to Israel as part of a Middle East tour.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army said a Palestinian tried to stab Israeli forces at the Qalqilya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. No others were reported wounded.

Deadly violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has killed at least 177 Palestinians and 28 Israelis since last October. Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or vehicle-ramming attacks, Israeli authorities say. Others were killed during anti-occupation demonstrations.

Divergent narratives, collective punishment

Palestinians argue the violence stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule over the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel claims the violence is fueled by a hate campaign that's incited by social media and propaganda organs that glorify violence against Jews.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces sealed shut the West Bank home of a Palestinian who killed an Israeli border policeman in a November car-ramming attack. Israel has begun sealing off criminals' houses, as well as razing entire dwellings, in an attempt to deter attacks.

The European Union has decried the tactic as collective punishment.

jar/msh (AP, AFP)

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