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Palestinian shot dead after running at soldiers with knife: Israeli military

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Israeli border police officers stand guard at an entrance door leading to the compound housing al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man after he ran toward them with a knife in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the military said.

In the walled Old City of Jerusalem, Israeli police said a firebomb was thrown at a police post, damaging the structure in a sacred compound revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Scuffles broke out at the complex between Israeli police and Palestinians. No serious injuries or damage to holy sites were reported and police said one man was arrested.

The military said a Palestinian, armed with a knife, confronted troops in the West Bank city of Hebron and was shot and killed. It said no soldiers were injured.

The Palestinian higher judicial council identified the dead man as Yasser al-Sweiki, 40, and said he worked in a Palestinian court in Hebron. The council denounced the shooting as “a despicable crime”.

Palestinians began a wave of knife and car-ramming attacks in the West Bank and in Israel in 2015, after peace talks with Israel collapsed. Such incidents have become more sporadic.

Tensions in the holy compound in Jerusalem, part of the eastern sector of the city captured by Israel in a 1967 war, have risen in recent weeks after the site’s Muslim administrators reopened a mosque sealed by Israel during a Palestinian uprising in 2003.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, commenting on the latest violence, condemned what he called “the grave Israeli escalation” at the complex, which houses al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.

Palestinians want the West Bank, also in Israeli hands since 1967, to be part of an independent state along with the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Jeffrey Heller/Mark Heinrich

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