Israel: 2 Palestinians who tried to stab soldiers shot dead

JERUSALEM: Two Palestinians tried to stab Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint early Saturday before they were shot dead by troops at the scene, the Israeli military said.

The incident is the latest in more than three months of near-daily Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers that have killed 21 people, mostly in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming assaults.

The figure does not include three Israelis killed last week by an Arab gunman in Tel Aviv. The attacker was killed Friday in a shootout with police special forces following a massive manhunt. His motives still remain unclear.

At least 137 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during the same period. About two-thirds of them are said by Israel to be attackers, while the others were killed in clashes with troops.

Israel says the bloodshed is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at decades of occupation.

On Saturday, the Israeli military demolished the West Bank home of one of the earliest lethal attackers. Mohannad Halabi, a 19-year-old law student from the West Bank, stabbed to death two Israelis in Jerusalem's Old City in early October before he was shot dead by police.

Israel recently revived the punitive measure in an attempt to deter future attackers by establishing that their families could be harmed even after their own deaths.