Israel settler dies in West Bank stabbing attack

An Israeli settler was stabbed to death by a knife-wielding Palestinian in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, in the first fatal anti-Israeli attack in the territory in 18 months, officials said.

The attack, which took place near Tapuah junction south of Nablus, prompted clashes between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in a nearby village, security sources said.

"The Palestinian suspect stabbed an Israeli sitting at a bus stop. He died," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

"He grabbed the (victim's) weapon and fired towards the border police force that was in the area. They fired back and neutralised him," she added, saying he had been arrested and taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment.

Police named the victim as Eviatar Borovsky, saying he was a father of five in his 30s from the nearby hardline settlement of Yitzhar.

The Israeli army confirmed details of the incident and said the attacker had been evacuated in "moderate to severe condition."

Palestinian security sources identified him as 23-year-old Salam Mohammed al-Zaghal from the northern town of Tulkarem who had been released last month after completing a three-year term in an Israeli jail.

Following the incident, Jewish settlers began attacking Palestinian cars in the area, pelting them with stones, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

They also hurled rocks at a passing school bus, causing some light injuries, security sources said.

Israeli police shut down the main road leading north to Nablus, the correspondent said.

In the nearby village of Urif, more than 100 settlers attempted to attack a mosque, leading to clashes with locals that left several people injured on both sides, security sources and witnesses said.

Speaking to reporters, Captain Barak Raz, the military spokesman for the West Bank, said the stabbing was the first such deadly incident in 18 months.

"After about a year and a half of quiet, we have an incident in which a Palestinian male attacks an Israeli, stabs him and takes his gun," he said, indicating there had been several attacks at the same junction, including a stabbing in January.

"It reinforces our assessment that the threat posed through terrorism is still very present and clear," he said.

The last time Israelis were killed in the West Bank was in September 2011 when Palestinians threw stones at a car, causing the driver -- a Jewish settler -- to lose control and crash, killing him and his infant son.

Six months before that, a couple and their three young children were stabbed to death in a brutal attack, which took place in Itamar settlement, also close to the Tapuah junction.