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tel aviv attack

Two Palestinian attackers have been shot dead by Israeli forces after attempting to stab them at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, the military says.

The incident was reported at the Bekaot checkpoint in the northern West Bank. The soldiers were not injured.

The two men, aged 23 and 38, were reported to be from villages south of Jenin.

Tension between Palestinians and Israelis has risen in recent months with a series of violent incidents.

Those killed has been named by the Palestinian Wafa news agency as Ali Muhammad Aqqab Abu-Maryam and Said Judah Abu-al-Wafa. They had been shot “in cold blood”, according to the news agency.

The Israel Defense Forces said the soldiers had “thwarted the attack and shot the assailants”.

Relations between Israelis and Palestinians remain tense amid a wave of attacks on Israelis by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs which have killed 22 Israelis since the beginning of October.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

During that time 149 Palestinians – more than half said by Israel to be attackers – have been shot dead by security forces or their victims. Others have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Overnight, Israeli forces demolished a home in the West Bank belonging to relatives of a Palestinian – Muhannad Halabi – shot dead in October after killing a rabbi in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Israel says home demolitions, which have come under international criticism, are a way of discouraging Palestinian attacks.

On January 8, an Israeli Arab wanted for shooting dead three people in Tel Aviv on January 1st was killed by security forces in northern Israel.

Nashat Melhem was followed to a mosque in his home town of Arara and died in a gun battle, police said.

Police said Nashat Melhem, 29, was the gunman who killed two Israelis at a bar, then the Israeli Arab driver of a taxi who picked him up after the attack.

Nashat Melhem’s father, Mohammed, had identified his son as the suspect and reported him to the police. Mohammed Melhem and several relatives have been arrested in connection with the case.

Police have not yet established a motive for the Tel Aviv killings.

Security will be tightened in Israeli Arab areas after a gunman killed two people in a shooting at a popular bar in Tel Aviv, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

Visiting the scene of the attack on January 2, Benjamin Netanyahu demanded “loyalty to the state’s laws from everyone”.

Police have named a 29-year-old Israeli Arab as the suspect. No motive has been established for the shooting.

Seven people were also wounded, four of them seriously, in January 1 attack outside the bar.

Security forces are on “heightened alert” and are searching for the gunman who is still at large, police said on January 2.Benjamin Netanyahu Tel Aviv attack January 2016

Visiting the bar in Dizengoff Street, Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israeli Arab leaders for condemning the killings – but said Israel was in danger of becoming “a state of law for most citizens, and a state within a state with Islamist incitement and illegal arms that are often used in weddings, celebrations and criminal incidents”, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would “bolster law enforcement efforts in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle, everywhere”. This would include building new police stations and recruiting more police officers.

The attack took place in a busy part of Tel Aviv city center filled with bars and cafes.

Security camera footage showed the gunman taking an automatic rifle out of his backpack and then firing at least 15 shots at people in the street before fleeing the scene.

The two victims have been identified as Alon Bakal, 26, who was a manager at the bar targeted, and Shimon Ruimi, 30.

The suspect, from northern Israel, had stolen the gun from his father, who works in security, Haaretz newspaper reported.

The father recognized his son from media reports and contacted the police, the newspaper said.

Tel Aviv shootings follow a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis over the past few months.