Friday July 20th, 2018 10:01PM

3 Palestinian attackers killed in separate assaults on Israeli forces

By The Associated Press
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(AP) — Three Palestinian attackers were killed in separate assaults on Israeli forces on Friday, including a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City that left two Israeli officers wounded before one of them overpowered and killed the attacker.

The assaults were the latest in a five month-long wave of Palestinian violence that shows no sign of abating.

In the Jerusalem attack, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the 20-year-old Palestinian "walked through Damascus Gate and then turned around with a knife in his hand, ran at the officers and attacked them." One of the officers suffered knife wounds to the head, she said, the other was cut in the hand and struggled with the attacker before shooting him.

Palestinian attackers have carried out numerous assaults at the Damascus Gate over the past five months, prompting Israel to significantly beef up security there in response.

The other two attacks on Friday took place in the West Bank during clashes with soldiers. A Palestinian rammed his car into Israeli troops during a "violent riot" near the West Bank city of Ramallah before troops opened fire and killed him, the military said.

Later, in separate clashes near Bethlehem, also in the West Bank, the military said two Palestinians shot at soldiers who returned fire, killing one and wounding the other.

The assaults were the latest in months of near-daily Palestinian attacks against civilians and security personnel, mostly stabbings, shootings and attacks in which cars are used to ram into Israelis. Since mid-September, 28 Israelis have been killed. During that time, 165 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, the majority said by Israel to be attackers. The rest died in clashes with security forces.

Earlier Friday, mourners gathered for the funeral of an off-duty soldier, 21-year-old Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman, who was stabbed to death the day before by two Palestinian teenagers who attacked him and another shopper in a West Bank supermarket. The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem said Weissman was an American citizen.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner also said Friday that Weisman was a U.S. citizen. Toner condemned Thursday's attack, saying it underscores the need for Israelis and Palestinians to reject violence, reduce tensions and restore calm.

The Rami Levy supermarket, popular with both Israeli and Palestinian shoppers has been targeted by Palestinian attackers before over the past months of violence. It is located in the West Bank, territory Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war that the Palestinians demand for part of their future state, a position that has global support.

The outburst of Palestinian violence began in September over tensions at the most holy site in Jerusalem, sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule and dwindling hopes for gaining independence.

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