Israel says Palestinian killed as he tried to stab policemen

JERUSALEM -- Israeli policemen shot and killed a Palestinian as he tried to stab them Saturday in Jerusalem, police said, while another Palestinian was shot dead in the West Bank after ramming his vehicle into a checkpoint, the military said.

According to police spokeswoman Luba Samri, officers approached a man who was said to had drawn their suspicions just outside the Old City for following a pair of Jewish worshippers. When confronted, the Palestinian man pulled a knife and tried to stab one of the policemen, prompting other officers to open fire and kill the assailant, Samri said.

Since mid-September, 20 Israelis have been killed in attacks. At least 128 Palestinians have died in the same period. Israel says 88 of them were attacking or attempting to attack Israelis, while the rest died in clashes with Israeli troops.

Israel blames the Palestinian attacks on incitement. Palestinians say the violence stems from frustration over nearly five decades of Israeli military rule.

Later in Jerusalem, police forces fired tear gas to disperse several dozen protesters who were demanding Israel hand over the bodies of Palestinians killed in attacks or during clashes with Israeli troops. The protesters joined hands and formed a human chain around parts of the Old City walls.

Israel has been holding the bodies of several dozen Palestinians for fear returning them will set off angry massive funeral processions that will lead to additional violence.

The Palestinians consider the victims martyrs in their fight against Israel.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, the Israeli military said a Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a checkpoint Saturday and lightly wounded a soldier stationed there. Troops on the scene opened fire at the attacker and killed him, the military said.

The people who brought the 56-year-old man to the hospital said he was shot for no reason, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Taref Ashour said.