A 28-year-old Jewish seminary student was stabbed to death by a Palestinian on his way to morning prayers at the Western Wall, Israeli police said. And in the West Bank, a Jewish settler shot a Palestinian attacker.
The shooting in the Jewish settlement of Eli, near Nablus, occurred after the Palestinian stabbed the settler in the chest, slightly wounding him. The settler then pulled a gun on his assailant, an army statement said.
The settler, whose name was not released, was hospitalized in fair condition.
Jerusalem Police Chief Yair Yitzhaki said Haim Korman, a Jewish seminary student, was ambushed as he walked down the Via Dolorosa - the street that Christ reputedly took to his crucifixion. Korman responded by shooting his pistol once, but it was not known if he hit his assailant, Yitzhaki said.
"We are speaking of a murder on a nationalistic background with, almost, certainty," Jerusalem police chief Yair Yitzhaki told Israel Army Radio.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Jerusalem's Israeli mayor, Ehud Olmert, said the circumstances pointed "to the high likelihood that it was murder by Arab terrorists.
"This is a very serious event which proves what we're saying all the time, that there's a lot of rhetoric about making peace in the political corridors, but the reality of life in the streets of Jerusalem is a little bit more complex," Olmert said.
Violence also erupted in the West Bank town of Hebron Wednesday, where a Palestinian man tried to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint, witnesses said. They said the soldier, who escaped unhurt, fired into the air while two other soldiers overpowered the assailant.
In London Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was unable to end the 14-month deadlock in Mideast peace negotiations.
Progress is dependent on Israel accepting an American proposal for a 13 percent pullback in the West Bank.
Israel regards all Jerusalem, including the eastern sector captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as its "eternal and indivisible" capital. The Palestinians want to make Arab East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.