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Israeli soldier killed by Arab gunman, as police step up security

A soldier has died and six other people have been injured after an Arab opened fire on a bus stop in Beersheba. The attack came as Israel stepped up its security amid growing violence with Palestinians.

The shooting in the southern Israeli city on Sunday came just a day after four Palestinian assailants were shot dead following a

series of lone-wolf knife attacks

in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Israeli police said that officers also "mistakenly" opened fire and wounded an Eritrean national during the attack at the bus stop on Sunday. Police commander Yoram Halevy said officers made the error after thinking the man was an assailant.

Israeli security forces have responded to the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians with a strict crackdown over the weekend. Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem have been encircled by Israeli troops, and roads have been blocked with concrete cubes. Palestinians leaving those neighborhoods have also reportedly been asked to lift their shirts to prove they aren't carrying a knife.

Arab residents have hit back at the stringent Israeli measures, however, saying the restrictions will only trigger more conflict.

Growing tensions

The

surge in violence over the last month

was initially reignited by Palestinian anger over what many saw as Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound. As the location of two biblical Jewish temples, the area is also a holy site for Jews.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming days in the hope of reducing tensions between the two nations.

Kerry's attempt to mediate talks between the two leaders last year was far from a success, however.

ksb/tj (AFP, AP)

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