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Ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence claims more lives

An almost two-month spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence shows little sign of abating. In one incident, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl has been shot dead, while an Israeli soldier was stabbed to death in another.

Three Palestinian assailants were shot dead on Monday, while an Israeli soldier died in a stabbing attack in acts of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israeli officials say.

An Israeli policeman shot dead a 16-year-old Palestinian girl and seriously injured her 14-year-old co-assailant after they tried to stab a 70-year-old Palestinian man with scissors near the popular Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, after apparently mistaking him for an Israeli Jew.

The man received minor head and back injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said. She said a 27-year-old Israeli security guard had his hand injured by stray gunfire, and was also taken to hospital.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement that the policeman had ordered the girl to cease their attack, and shot them when they approached.

West Bank attacks

In the West Bank, a Palestinian who tried to stab an Israeli near the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus was also shot dead by Israeli soldiers, an army spokeswoman told AFP news agency. She said the suspect had been unable to do any harm.

A short time later, a Palestinian assailant stabbed to death an Israeli soldier at a central West Bank gas station, also injuring a female soldier, the Israeli army and television said.

An army statement said the assailant was shot dead at the scene.

Deadly unrest

The current wave of unrest began in mid-September amid tensions over

the Al-Asqa Mosque compound in Jerusalem,

known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which is a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Israel Jerusalem Tempelberg

The al Aqsa Mosque compound has been a focus of tensions

Eighteen Israelis have been killed, most of them in stabbing attacks, while 88 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli security forces, either in response to alleged attacks, or during demonstrations or clashes. An American student and an Eritrean have also been killed.

In an effort to control the violence, the army has prohibited Palestinians from entering 24 Jewish settlements in the southern West Bank after a 21-year-old Israeli woman was stabbed to death in the region on Sunday.

The latest incidents come a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to arrive in the region, where he is expected to meet with leaders from both sides in a bid to ease tensions. It is to be his first visit to the area in in a year.

Palestinians have accused Israeli security forces of using undue and indiscriminate force, while Israel has said it has a right to respond to potentially deadly attacks by shooting to kill.

tj/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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