Israel says it killed 2 Palestinian attackers

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israelis troops on Thursday killed two Palestinians who attacked soldiers with knives in the West Bank, the military said, the latest in a four-month outburst of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

In one of the two attacks, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli officer as he left his vehicle after it was attacked by an unidentified object near the West Bank city of Nablus. The officer was lightly wounded and it was not clear if the stabber had lobbed the object at the car before being shot and killed, the military said.

Earlier Thursday, the military said a knife-wielding Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier at a junction northeast of the city of Hebron. The troops shot and killed him, the military said.

Near-daily Palestinian attacks using guns, knives and cars have killed 24 Israelis and one American student. Some 143 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire; 100 of them are said by Israel to have been attackers. The rest have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

Israel has struggled to halt the violence, which erupted in mid-September over tensions surrounding a Jerusalem holy site and quickly spread across Israel and the West Bank.

Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement. The Palestinians say it is rooted in frustrations over Israel's nearly 50-year occupation.

Also Thursday, Israeli police said they broke up an "illegal" meeting at a Jerusalem hotel of activists linked to the outlawed northern branch of the country's Islamic Movement.

According to police spokeswoman Luba Samri, the activists refused to disband the meeting and caused disturbances outside the hotel. Police used "the appropriate means" to disperse the group and one person was arrested, Samri said, declining to elaborate.

In November, Israel banned the group, accusing it of incitement.

In the West Bank, Palestinians said Israeli forces demolished a concrete water tank meant to provide running water for some 100 families, who otherwise rely on wells for their water. The water tank, a donation from Italian churches, was not in use.

A statement from COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian issues, said the water tank was built illegally, as were four other structures it demolished.

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