JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police said they shot dead a Palestinian and wounded another on Thursday after the two stabbed a Jewish seminary student near Jerusalem on Thursday, as diplomatic efforts to calm three weeks of violence intensified.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for talks in Berlin, where the Israeli leader is on an official visit. A State Department spokesman said Kerry was seeking practical ways to stem the bloodshed.
Describing the morning attack in the town of Beit Shemesh, police said the two Palestinian assailants from the occupied West Bank stabbed the student at a bus stop. He was taken to hospital, as was the surviving attacker.
Nine Israelis have been killed in Palestinian stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks since the start of October. Forty-nine Palestinians, including 25 assailants, among them children, have been killed in attacks and during anti-Israeli protests.
Among the causes of the turmoil is Palestinians’ anger at what they see as Jewish encroachment on the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City. The compound is Islam’s holiest site outside Saudi Arabia and is also revered by Jews as the location of two ancient Jewish temples.
Netanyahu has pledged to maintain a decades-old status quo at the compound that bans Jews from praying there and has denied Palestinian allegations that he intends to change the arrangement.
As Israeli security forces and civilians become ever more jittery, a Jewish seminary student mistaken for an attacker was shot dead by soldiers on Wednesday at a busy intersection in Jerusalem, police said.
An Eritrean migrant was shot by a security guard and beaten by an angry crowd of Israelis in the town of Beersheba on Sunday. He died in hospital of his wounds, and four suspects alleged to have participated in what Israel’s defense minister termed a lynching were due to appear in court on Thursday.
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But after two days of discussions in the region, there was no sign Ban had made progress toward bringing both sides back from what he described as a “dangerous abyss”.
Editing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Tom Heneghan