Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli guard at the entrance of a settlement in the occupied West Bank and Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in clashes nearby, officials said on Saturday.
An upsurge of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories in recent weeks has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.
Late on Friday, two Palestinian gunmen pulled up to a guard booth at the entrance to Ariel, stepped out of their vehicle and shot dead one of the guards before fleeing the scene, Israeli officials said.
The two were later arrested in a nearby Palestinian village, according to the Shin Bet intelligence agency.
In an apparently unrelated incident after the attack in Ariel, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in the northern West Bank village of Azzun, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Israel’s military said soldiers there shot at suspects who had thrown firebombs at them.
Fifteen people have been killed by Arab attackers in Israel and the West Bank in recent weeks, Israeli authorities say. A United Nations agency estimates Israeli forces have killed at least 40 Palestinians since February, when tensions started to rise.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called the attacks since last month “a new wave of terrorism.”
Hamas, the Islamist group that rules blockaded Gaza, did not claim responsibility for the incident in Ariel but praised the attack, saying it was partly a response to Israeli police raids on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
The compound, Islam’s third holiest site, sits atop a plateau in the old city. Known to Jews as Temple Mount, it is the holiest site in Judaism and the vestige of two ancient Jewish temples.
There were repeated confrontations at the site this month when Ramadan overlapped with the Jewish celebration of Passover, which brought more Muslim and Jewish visitors to the heavily policed compound.
Ariel is one of the largest settlements Israel has built in the West Bank, territory it captured in a 1967 war along with East Jerusalem and Gaza, which Palestinians want for a future state.