At least three Palestinians - including two alleged attackers and a protester - have been shot dead by Israeli forces, while five Israeli soldiers were injured during suspected attacks by Palestinians.

A 54-year-old Palestinian, Hashem al-Azzeh, died on Wednesday due to inhaling excessive tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to local media reports. 

Another Palestinian, 22-year-old Mutaz Atallah Qassem, was fatally shot by an Israeli soldier during an alleged stabbing incident, outside the illegal Adam settlement near Ramallah. The soldier sustained injuries. 

Late on Wednesday, four Israeli soldiers were hospitalised after a Palestinian man rammed his car into them near the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank.

Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said that soldiers "opened fire on the assailant", who later died. 

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Wednesday's violence comes amid ongoing clashes in Israel and the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. 


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Since October 1, at least 53 Palestinians - including suspected attackers, unarmed demonstrators and bystanders - have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers, while eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks. 

Protests against Israel's occupation were triggered last month by Israeli incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound - Islam's third holiest site - in occupied East Jerusalem. Since then, unrest has spread and clashes have increased in frequency. 

Condemnation

Rights groups have slammed Israel for its harsh response to protests, which has included the use of live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. 

Earlier this month, Amnesty International accused Israel of "extrajudicial killings", while Human Rights Watch said it was "strongly concerned" by Israel's "indiscriminate and even deliberate" use of live ammunition on Palestinian protesters. 

On Wednesday, the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, condemned Israel for placing tight restrictions on entry to Al-Aqsa for Muslim worshippers. 


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In recent weeks, Israeli forces have set up additional checkpoints around Jerusalem's historic Old City and sealed off Palestinian neighbourhoods with road blocks and flying checkpoints. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah. 

"We will continue to support all efforts to create the conditions to make meaningful negotiations possible," Ban told journalists after meeting Abbas. 

"But ultimately it is for Palestinians and Israelis to choose peace. Our most urgent challenge is to stop the current wave of violence and avoid any further loss of life."

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies