JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday outlined plans for tough new security measures against Palestinians in the West Bank after two Israelis were killed in stabbing attacks in less than 24 hours.
The new steps include greater security checks of Palestinian vehicles on roads also used by Israelis and new bypass routes to prevent Palestinian drivers from passing through some busy junctions in the southern West Bank. Netanyahu also said work permits would be revoked for the families of those who carry out such attacks.
In a statement released to the media, he said the Israeli army had free rein to enter Palestinian villages, communities, and homes and to carry out widespread arrests to crack down on what Israeli politicians and media have described as a "wave of terror" by Palestinians against Israelis.
Netanyahu announced the measures during a visit with his top military generals and security advisers to a busy West Bank intersection where a Palestinian man fatally stabbed an Israeli woman on Sunday afternoon.
Hadar Buchris, the victim of Sunday's attack, was buried in a Jerusalem cemetery on Monday.
At roughly the same time, an Israeli soldier was stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant at a busy gas station on one of the main thoroughfares leading from the center of the country to Jerusalem. The road, which runs through parts of the West Bank and bypasses several Palestinian villages, has been the scene of violent incidents in the past.
Earlier in the day, two Palestinian girls, ages 14 and 16, stabbed an elderly man with a pair of scissors on a street in central Jerusalem. The man, who was later identified as also being Palestinian, was slightly wounded. A security guard shot both of the girls, killing one and critically wounding the other.
The latest round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians ignited early last month following 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 ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In recent weeks, however, the violence had moved away from Jerusalem and its holy sites, to other Israeli centers and Palestinian areas in the West Bank such as Hebron. Almost daily, Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers, who have responded with increasingly harsh measures.
Figures released Sunday by Israel's first aid agency, Magen David Adom, show that since the beginning of October, 22 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Monday that 97 Palestinians have been killed, including 21 children and four women.
Israel says a large number of the slain Palestinians were killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis or during clashes with security forces.