JERUSALEM — Two separate attacks by Palestinians against Israelis on Thursday left five people dead, including one American and one Palestinian, and several injured, Israeli authorities said.
The killings marked a surge in violence after several days of relative quiet following weeks of near-daily stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks in Israeli towns and cities and violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank.
The first attack occurred in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon when a Palestinian man entered a makeshift synagogue in a commercial center and fatally stabbed two Israelis. He seriously wounded a third man before being overpowered by a shoe salesman, police and witnesses said.
The assailant was identified by police as a 36-year-old father of five from the West Bank town of Dura, near Hebron. He had been working in a nearby restaurant and had a permit to enter Israel legally, police said.
Later on Thursday, three people were killed, including a U.S. citizen and a Palestinian man, and at least four were injured in a drive-by shooting and vehicular attack at a bus stop near a busy intersection in the southern West Bank, the Israeli military reported.
The U.S. State Department confirmed than a U.S. citizen was killed in the attack but did not give the victim’s name or age. Local news media reported that the American was an 18-year-old Yeshiva student from Massachusetts. Nathan Katz, the head of Maimonides School in Brookline, Mass., sent an e-mail to parents Thursday saying that a recent graduate, Ezra Schwartz, had been “murdered in a terrorist attack in Israel.”
A statement from the Israeli military said the Palestinian attacker was killed.
Thursday’s attacks followed a drive-by shooting last Friday in which two Israelis — a rabbi and his son — were killed in front of their family near the settlement of Otniel. The Palestinian assailant in that attack was later taken into custody.
This latest round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians ignited last month after clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at a holy site in Jerusalem revered by both Jews and Muslims. The site, referred to as the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews, has been a constant flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In recent weeks, the violence had swung away from Jerusalem and other Israeli centers to Palestinian areas in the West Bank, such as Hebron, where protesters clash with Israeli soldiers almost daily. The Israeli army has responded with increasingly harsh measures.
Since the beginning of October, nearly 90 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. At least 12 Israelis have also died, not including those killed Thursday. Israel says a large number of Palestinians were killed carrying out attacks against Israelis, while others were involved in violent clashes against the security forces.