Palestinian Attackers Kill 5 in West Bank, Tel Aviv Prayer Hall

  • Shooting on road near settlement follows stabbing in Tel Aviv
  • Netanyahu seeks to link violence to Paris terrorist attacks

Palestinian assailants killed three Israelis, an American student and another Palestinian in violence that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to link to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

In Tel Aviv, a Palestinian from the West Bank stabbed two Israelis to death and injured a third at a makeshift synagogue inside the Panorama office building, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. An hour later outside the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, three people were killed by a Palestinian gunman, Samri said. One of the victims was an American student, another an Israeli man and the third was a Palestinian, Channel 2 television said.

“Behind these terrorist attacks stands radical Islam, which seeks to destroy us, the same radical Islam that struck in Paris and threatens all of Europe,” Netanyahu said on his Facebook page. “Whoever condemned the attacks in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It’s the same terror. Whoever does not do this is a hypocrite and blind.”

The attacks were the latest in a wave of violence that has left 16 Israelis, an Eritrean man and almost 90 Palestinians -- most of them assailants -- dead over the past seven weeks. The assaults on Thursday came a year after Palestinians killed four rabbis and a police officer at a synagogue in Jerusalem. A fifth rabbi wounded in that attack died last month of his injuries.

Both attackers Thursday were captured alive. In the West Bank attack, the assailant fired on three cars stuck in a traffic jam outside the settlement, police said. The identity of the American victim was not immediately disclosed, pending notification of his family in the U.S., Channel 2 said.

Netanyahu has blamed incitement by Palestinian leaders for the near-daily assaults on Israelis. His cabinet this week voted to outlaw the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, charging that its leaders were encouraging the violence by accusing the Israeli government of trying to harm Jerusalem’s holiest Muslim shrine, the al-Aqsa mosque.

Israel denies that accusation. Arab fears that Israel plans to change understandings governing worship at the hilltop site, holy to Jews as the site of their biblical temple, have fanned the latest violence.

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