Credit Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse â?? Getty Images
JERUSALEM â?? Five people were killed on Thursday in two separate stabbing and shooting attacks carried out by Palestinian assailants in Tel Aviv and the West Bank, according to the Israeli authorities, in a renewal of deadly violence that came after a few days of relative calm.
The fatalities included three Israelis, an 18-year-old American yeshiva student and a Palestinian passer-by, according to Israeli news reports.
In the first attack, a Palestinian from the West Bank stabbed Israelis at the entrance of a store that served as an informal synagogue in a Tel Aviv commercial center, killing two Israeli men and wounding a third. Witnesses said the attacker had then tried to force his way into the prayer room but was stopped by worshipers blocking the door.
Soon after, in the Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, a Palestinian man opened fire with a submachine gun from a car as he passed vehicles stopped in traffic. The assailant then crashed his car into another vehicle, according to initial reports. Three people were killed and several others were injured in the assault.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote on his Facebook page, â??Behind these terrorist attacks stands radical Islam, which seeks to destroy us, the same radical Islam that struck in Paris and threatens Europe.â?
â??Whoever condemned the attacks in France must condemn the attacks in Israel,â? he added. â??Itâ??s the same terrorism. Anyone who does not do so is acting hypocritically and blindly.â?
Mr. Netanyahu said that Israel would â??settle accountsâ? with the perpetrators, exact a price from their families and destroy their homes. The homes of several Palestinians charged in attacks have been demolished in recent weeks in what the Israelis describe as a deterrent measure, but the tactic has not, so far, put a stop to the violence.
The victims of the Tel Aviv attack were identified as Aharon Yesayev, 32, and Aviram Reuven, 51, both from central Israel.
The Israeli man killed in the West Bank was identified as Yaakov Don, 51, a resident of a nearby settlement. The Palestinian victim was named as Shadi Arafa, 24, an employee of a Palestinian cellphone company.
The police identified the assailant in the Tel Aviv stabbing as a father of five from the village of Dura in the southern West Bank. The Israeli news media said he had a permit to work in Israel and was employed at a restaurant near the scene of the attack. He was overpowered by passers-by and taken into custody.
Shimon Vaknin, who was praying in the synagogue at the time, told Israeli television that a victim fell inside the room, covered in blood. He said that 15 worshipers blocked the door as the attacker tried to get inside, shouting in Arabic.
The attacks came hours after Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a long-awaited agreement granting Palestinian cellphone carriers 3G high-speed cellular services in the West Bank. The move, intended to boost economic development, had indicated a possible effort, or desire, to return to calm after weeks of violence.
At least 16 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, vehicular and shooting attacks by Palestinians since the beginning of October and an Eritrean man was killed by a mob after he was mistaken for an assailant. About 90 Palestinians have been killed over the same period, some of them while attacking, or attempting to attack Israelis, and others in clashes with Israeli security forces. Thursday was the deadliest single day in the recent wave of violence.
In the absence of peace talks, Israel has suggested that economic inducements could help restore calm and ease tensions with the Palestinians.
â??We always agreed to confidence-building measures with the Palestinians and to help with their economy,â? an Israeli minister, Yuval Steinitz, said in a briefing with foreign reporters this month. But, he added, â??Even confidence-building measures should be built on some kind of reciprocity.â? Mr. Steinitz said Israel expected action from Palestinian leaders to end what he described as incitement to violence in the news media.
West Bank cities have many smartphone users and a burgeoning high-tech industry, but Palestinian carriers have been forced to make do with 2G data bandwidth, which was introduced to the area in 1998.
Under the interim peace accords of the mid-1990s, Israel controls the allocation of radio frequencies in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule.
For the Palestinians, the lack of 3G service has been a sore point and, they say, a symbol of how the Israeli occupation has held them back.
In March 2013, on the eve of a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah by President Obama, dozens of posters told the president not to bother bringing his smartphone.
The agreement on Thursday was signed by Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, the Israeli agency that works with the Palestinians on civil affairs, and the Palestinian minister of civil affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh.
Israeli officials said that 3G services would most likely be available to Palestinian carriers within the next few weeks. It was not clear when, or even if, the same service would be made available in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal territory dominated by Hamas, the Islamic militant group.
The officials added that Israel was also examining the possibility of introducing 4G service to the West Bank. Israeli mobile carriers already have access to 4G, including for customers in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Two Palestinian cellular companies, Jawwal and Wataniya, operate in the Palestinian areas.
Durgham Maraee, the chief executive of Wataniya Mobile, welcomed the news and said that the company had had held a license to operate 3G services since its inception in 2006. â??However we were not able to offer these services,â? he said, â??due to the fact that the frequencies were not assigned by the Israeli side until now.â?
Ammar Akel, the chief executive of Palestine Telecommunications Group, of which Jawwal is a subsidiary, said, â??We have been asking for this for more than five years.â? He added that the Palestinians were â??deprived of using modern technologyâ? while â??for the past year the whole world is using 4G.â?
Israel estimates that the introduction of 3G will increase investment in the West Bank by $ 120 million.