A Palestinian man has been killed by Israeli forces near the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank after he allegedly tried to stab an Israeli soldier, as violence flared in several other towns across the occupied territories.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, an Israeli settler was killed when he was reportedly run over by a Palestinian man near Hebron. Witnesses said the settler was attacking cars in the area before he was hit by one of the vehicles.
Meanwhile, violent clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a rally in Beit El near Ramallah, where Israeli forces used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The Israeli army said the officer who was reportedly attacked in Hebron was lightly injured in the incident.
The incident took place in the West Bank village of Beit Awwa near Hebron during a demonstration by Palestinians.
Triggered by Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound last month, violence and protests against Israel’s occupation have increased in frequency across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Since the beginning of October, 45 Palestinians have been killed in shootings and clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, while eight Israelis have been killed in knife and gun attacks.
An Eritrean asylum seeker was killed after he was mistaken for a Palestinian attacker during a raid in southern Israel.
HAMAS LEADER ARRESTED
Tuesday’s incidents came after Israeli security forces arrested Hassan Yusef, one of Hamas’ top figures in the West Bank, in an overnight raid near Ramallah on Monday.
“During the night, forces of the army and the Shin Bet [internal security service] arrested Hassan Yusef, a Hamas leader, in Beitunia, southwest of Ramallah,” an army statement said on Tuesday.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Ghazi al-Hamad said Yusef’s arrest was “part of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians”.
“It’s designed to keep Palestinians from resisting its occupation. The Israeli government is trying to pressure Hamas and other Palestinians in an effort to end the Intifada in Palestine,” Hamad said.
Yusef has been arrested by the Israeli authorities several times, starting from 1993, and became the visible leader of the second Intifada which started in 2000.
In 2005, he was nominated to represent Hamas during the elections as an absentee candidate as he was in jail.
Rights groups have decried Israeli measures as the government continues to crack down on Palestinians, among them many Israeli citizens, amid unrest across the Palestinian territories and Israel.
On Monday, police arrested eight activists for their participation in protests last week in Umm al-Fahm, a Palestinian town in northern Israel, local media reported.
In one week, Israeli police arrested more than 100 demonstrators and activists during protests in Palestinian areas, according to Adalah, a Haifa-based legal centre for Palestinians in Israel.
Nadim Nashif, director of Baladna, a Haifa-based Palestinian youth advocacy group, said Israel has launched “a harsh crackdown”.
“Like during the second Intifada, Israel wants us to be scared, shut up and not participate. But our participation has been big,” he told Al Jazeera.
Since the beginning of the month, protests have been held in Nazareth, Haifa, Acre, Sakhnin, Tamra and Arrabeh, among other Palestinian communities in Israel.
“The uprising is everywhere,” Nashif said. Al Jazeera