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Israeli rabbi killed by Palestinian in stabbing attack on street, says police

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A Palestinian from the occupied West Bank fatally stabbed an Israeli rabbi on a street in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva on Wednesday, police said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed on Twitter his condolences to the family of Rabbi Shai Ohayon, 39, and said Israel would move to demolish the assailant’s home after “the terrorist stabbing attack.”

Police said in a statement that a 46-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank city of Nablus carried out the stabbing in Petah Tikva, a city adjacent to Tel Aviv, and that investigators suspected it stemmed from "nationalist" motives.

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YNet News website said the alleged attacker, who was arrested after passersby chased him down, had a history of mental health problems, held an Israeli work permit and was not affiliated with any Palestinian militant group.

Israeli officials have said attacks by Palestinians allowed to work in Israel have been rare.

In waves of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car rammings in Israel and the West Bank in recent years, most assailants have been young men who were not among the tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israeli factories or building sites after being vetted by security authorities.

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The victim was not immediately identified.

Since October 2015 Israel and the West Bank saw a wave of “lone-wolf” attacks on Israelis by predominantly young, knife-wielding Palestinians.

Car-ramming attacks were also used and more rarely firearms. The attacks have become less frequent but have not stopped altogether.

On August 17, a Palestinian stabbed a policeman in the chest in the Old City of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The officer suffered only minor injuries and shot dead his attacker.