Israeli security forces on Thursday raided a West Bank town after three deadly attacks rocked the Jewish state in a week, with two Palestinians shot dead and a third killed after he launched a knife attack on a bus.
The violence comes after a Palestinian armed with an M-16 assault rifle killed five Israeli civilians in the streets of Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city near Tel Aviv, on Tuesday night.
That shooting took to 11 the number of people killed in the week of violence carried out by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, days before the holy Muslim month of Ramadan begins.
The latest bloodshed erupted on Thursday morning when the Israeli army said its soldiers returned fire after being shot at during an operation to arrest suspects in the West Bank city of Jenin.
"During the activity, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the troops. Israeli troops responded with fire," the army said in a statement, adding that one soldier was hospitalized.
The Palestinian health ministry said "the Israeli occupation forces" killed two Palestinians, both males aged 17 and 23, in Jenin and another 15 were wounded.
Later on Thursday morning, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli civilian on a bus south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the army said, before "a civilian on the bus shot the terrorist dead."
Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem said they treated a man aged about 30 for stab wounds to his torso.
The Palestinian health ministry identified the alleged assailant as Nidal Jumaa Jafara, 30.
The Gaza Strip-based secretary general of the Islamic Jihad, Ziad Al-Nakhala, announced in a statement that the group's armed wing would step up activities "in light of the storming of Jenin camp by the Zionist enemy army".
The violence has cast a pall ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins this weekend.