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Israel tightens West Bank security

An ultra-orthodox Jewish man is taken to hospital after he was stabbed in Jerusalem  

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli forces have tightened restrictions around Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank.

The move is in response to warnings of impending bomb attacks.

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli police have stepped up security following a series of violent incidents.

On Monday an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed in the back in Jerusalem's Old City, apparently by a Palestinian. He remains in a serious condition.

The attack came a few hours after a small bomb went off in a Jerusalem supermarket, and a day after another explosion in a parking lot beneath a Jerusalem apartment block.

Neither incident resulted in any injuries.

"There is a concentrated effort to draw Jerusalem into the circle of violence," Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy told Reuters.

Violence has escalated across the region in the last few days.

Israeli jets sweep over Shebaa Farms region
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On Monday two Israeli helicopters launched four rockets at the main headquarters of the Palestinian Police in Gaza, injuring two policemen.

The Israel Defense Force said the attack was against an installation used to produce mortar bombs and other weapons sited within the police compound.

Palestinian security officials, however, said the missiles hit an empty police barracks, and issued a strongly worded statement accusing Israel of "threatening all the efforts made to calm down the situation and to restore peace and stability."

"There is no cycle of violence," Israeli foreign policy adviser Daniel Ayalon told The Associated Press. "There is Palestinian violence, and then there are some responses that we have to take for self-defence."

The Gaza missile attack came just hours after six Palestinians were killed and another injured in a West Bank explosion.

The precise circumstances surrounding the blast, which blew the roof off a metal shack in Fara, a village south of Jenin, remain unclear.

Palestinian officials blamed the deaths on Israel, saying at least three of the dead were on Israel's most-wanted list of militants suspected in attacks.

"The Israeli government continues its policy of assassination," Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman said, according to AP. "This policy will destroy any hope for peace. Resistance will continue."

Israeli officials, however, denied Israel was involved and said the Palestinians may have been killed by their own bomb.

"According to the information I have, it was a work accident. It's not the first time the Palestinians claim we killed a squad," Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin-Pelossof told Army Radio, as reported by Reuters.

"Attackers who are trying to activate explosive devices ... recently they have been making many mistakes ... and they pay with their lives for it," Rabin-Pelossof said.

Old City
An Israeli soldier confronts a Palestinian woman outside Jerusalem's Old City  

In further incidents, three Israeli border police were shot and wounded, two of them seriously, as they patrolled along the "green line," the border between Israel and the West Bank north of Tulkarem.

According to the Israeli police the three, one a female officer, were in a jeep and were shot at from a passing car, which then escaped into a nearby Palestinian village.

In the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters, nine mortar bombs have been fired at Jewish settlements over the last 24 hours.

In the most recent incident Palestinians fired two mortar shells at the settlement of Netzarim.

"The Palestinians are really shelling us with mortars," Israeli Minister of Communication Ruby Rivlin told Reuters. "Arafat is trying to do anything in order to bring to an explosion in the region."

The Israeli army, meanwhile, has admitted that a group of its soldiers beat a Palestinian travelling in a taxi.

Responding to a complaint from Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, the army acknowledged that its soldiers had "acted with brutality towards passengers."

In an interview with Haaretz newspaper on Monday Israeli army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz condemned the soldiers' actions, and said that such incidents caused the army great damage.

• Palestinian National Authority
• Israel Defense Force

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