Palestinian who stabbed Israeli soldier shot dead: army

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli soldier on Wednesday shot dead a Palestinian motorist who had stabbed him and threw rocks from his car at a military vehicle in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the assailant hurled rocks from his moving car at an oncoming military patrol vehicle, which then gave chase, forcing the car to a standstill shortly afterwards. When the Israeli soldier approached the vehicle, the assailant stabbed him, inflicting light wounds, she said. The soldier responded by pushing the assailant backwards and shooting him, an Israeli army statement said. A picture of the dead assailant circulated on social media and seen by Reuters showed him sitting in the driver's seat. An Islamic Jihad militant source named the driver as Sari Abu Ghrab, 26, from the northern West Bank village of Qabatia. Since October, Palestinians, many of them acting alone and with rudimentary weapons, have killed at least 33 Israelis and two visiting Americans. At least 208 Palestinians have been killed, 141 of whom Israel said were assailants. Others died during clashes and protests. Palestinian leaders say assailants have acted out of desperation over the collapse of peace talks in 2014 and Israeli settlement expansion in Israeli-occupied territory that Palestinians seek for an independent state. Most countries view the settlements as illegal. Israel disputes this. Israel says incitement in the Palestinian media and personal problems at home have been important factors that have spurred assailants, often teenagers, to carry out attacks. (Corrects headline to clarify incident) (Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Mark Heinrich)