Two Palestinians have been killed in a shootout with police after allegedly attacking a bus in Jerusalem and then opening fire outside the Old City, Israeli police said.

At least one person was critically injured after the men opened fire at a lightrail stop near the New Gate of the Old City as they were being chased by police on Wednesday.

The shootings were the latest in a string of attacks coinciding with US Vice President Joe Biden's arrival on Tuesday. 

The attack started in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of northern Jerusalem, police said. 

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said initially, passengers on a bus spotted the two gunmen and heard shots fired. A motorist responded by shooting toward the suspects, who fled by car.

The two assailants were then shot by police outside the Old City.


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In a separate incident, a Palestinian was shot dead after he attempted to stab a soldier near Salfit in the occupied West Bank. He later died of his wounds.

The alleged attacker was said to be a 16-year-old boy.

A local official told the Palestinian Ma'an news agency that two Palestinians were shot during the incident and "left bleeding" when Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances were prevented from accessing them.

Ma'an said the village where the incident happened, al-Zawiya, was placed under military blockade late on Tuesday after one of its residents was suspected of carrying out a stabbing attack near Petah Tikva, east of Tel Aviv.

Four Palestinians were shot dead in separate incidents on Tuesday after allegedly trying to kill Israelis in occupied East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the latest in a five-month wave of such incidents. 

Since the beginning of October, 194 Palestinians and 28 Israelis have been killed.

Israelis say most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out alleged knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.

Others have been shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes or demonstrations.

Rights groups have condemned Israeli forces for using excessive force against alleged attackers and demonstrators, including children.

The surge in violence erupted in Jerusalem in October after an increase of Israeli incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's holiest site outside Saudi Arabia. Many Jews revere the site as a vestige of their biblical temples.

Riots swiftly spread to the flashpoint southern West Bank city of Hebron, where hundreds of Jewish settlers live under Israeli army guard among 200,000 Palestinians, and to other places across the Palestinian Territories and Israel.

The US vice president is due to meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.

The White House has said Biden will not be pursuing any major new peace initiatives during his visit despite the wave of violence. 

Source: Agencies