File photo: Israeli occupations soldiers (AP)
Israeli occupation forces shot dead two Palestinians after stabbing two Israeli women on Monday in the occupied West Bank, police said.
One of the women was in critical condition and the other sustained moderate wounds after the attack in Beit Horon, a settlement on a highway that links Jerusalem and coastal Tel Aviv and cuts through the foothills of the West Bank.
"The two terrorists were killed by security forces," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that two explosive devices were found at the scene.
It was the latest incident in an almost four-month long surge of violence that has raised concern of wider escalation, a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.
It followed three stabbings last week inside settlements carried out by Palestinian teenagers, according to Israeli authorities.
Since the start of October, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 160 Palestinians. Almost daily stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks by frustrated and unarmed Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis and a US citizen.
The current wave of protests by Palestinians and repression by Israeli occupation forces started in late July when toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.
Palestinian protests were also triggered by an increase in Jewish visitors to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians fear that Israel is preparing to allow Jewish prayers in the mosque, which are not currently allowed.
Settlement-building, racial discrimination, confiscation of identity cards, long queues at checkpoints, as well as daily clashes and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, have been Palestinians' daily routine.
The anger of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem has increased in the last three years after the Israeli authorities allowed increasing numbers of Jewish settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque.
The surge in violence has been fuelled by Palestinians' frustration over Israel's 48-year occupation of land they seek for an independent state, and the expansion of settlements in those territories which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Palestinian leaders say a younger generation sees no hope for the future living under Israeli security restrictions and with a stifled economy. The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in April 2014.
*The story has been edited by Ahram Online.