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Palestinian shot after stabbing Israeli in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM -- A Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man who then shot and wounded her in Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday after Israel lifted some of the tight security measures imposed following a series of deadly Palestinian attacks, police said.

Shortly after, the police said its forces shot dead a suspect in southern Israel who stabbed a soldier and stole his weapon, the latest in a series of violent incidents in recent days that have seen several Israelis and Palestinians killed and sent tensions soaring.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said an 18-year-old woman in Jerusalem stabbed an Israeli man from behind in his upper body, lightly wounding him. The man drew his gun and fired, wounding her seriously, Samri said. Both have been taken to a hospital.

Israel's Channel 2 TV said the attack took place near the site where a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli man to death and wounded his wife and toddler on Saturday. That assailant then attacked and killed another Israeli man before he was shot dead by police.

Samri said an unprecedented measure imposed on Sunday barring nonresident Palestinians from Jerusalem's Old City was lifted "following security assessments" on Tuesday evening. The ban did not apply to Palestinians who live, work and study within the Old City, or Israelis or tourists.

The move was imposed after a series of Palestinian attacks. Israel beefed up its forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank since the current unrest began about three weeks ago, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under intense domestic pressure to do more.

Four Israelis were killed last week in shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank, while Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, amid violent protests.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been hurt in several days of clashes, according to the Red Crescent medical service, including dozens struck by rubber bullets and some by live fire. Most of the wounded have been treated for tear gas inhalation.

Another measure banning men under the age of 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for prayers was also lifted. Israel has imposed the ban at times of unrest in the past as it is mostly young Palestinian men who take part in the violence.

That site has been at the heart of the recent tensions. The hilltop compound is revered by Muslims as the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven and by Jews as the site of the two Jewish biblical Temples.

Many Palestinians believe that Israel is trying to expand a Jewish presence at the site. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, describing them as slander aimed at inciting Arabs to violence.

There have been several days of clashes at the site over the past few weeks as Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa mosque while hurling stones, firebombs and fireworks at police.

The unrest later spread to Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and to the West Bank, and on Tuesday there were disturbances in Jaffa, a largely Arab area of Tel Aviv.

On Wednesday, the violence appeared to spread south. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a suspect got off a bus in the city of Kiryat Gat and then stabbed a soldier while taking his weapon. The suspect then fled into a residential building, where police forces tracked him down and shot him dead. Rosenfeld said the suspect's identity was not yet clear but that police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned he will use a "strong hand" to quell the violence.

Netanyahu is under heavy pressure, particularly from hard-liners in his governing coalition, to respond with a tough crackdown.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, fed up with years of diplomatic paralysis and unpopular with his public, does not want to appear to be caving in to Israeli pressure. But on Tuesday he called for calm and said his people had no interest in further "escalation."

Earlier, a relative of one of five Palestinians arrested by Israel over the killing of an Israeli couple in the West Bank said troops took measurements of their homes in an apparent prelude to demolishing them.

Ayman Masri, whose nephew was among those arrested, said Israeli troops raided five homes in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday. Palestinian official Qadura Fares said another five were raided elsewhere. Israel's military had no immediate comment.

Israel says the arrested Palestinians shot and killed the Israeli couple in front of their four children in a drive-by attack last week.

On Tuesday Israel demolished homes that belonged to the families of a man who killed four worshippers and a police officer in a Jerusalem synagogue last year, and a second attacker who killed one person when he rammed a bulldozer into traffic. Both men were shot dead following the attacks. Israel says it carries out such demolitions to deter future attacks.

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