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Palestinians deny IS claim it carried out deadly attack in Israel

Palestinian militants have denied a claim by Islamic State that the group was behind a deadly attack against Israel, saying it was them who killed a female police officer on duty near Jerusalem's Old City.

IS issued a statement on Saturday claiming responsibility for the stabbing and shooting attacks on Friday evening.

If true, it would mark the first direct IS action against Israel and the group warned on its affiliate news agency it "will not be the last".

The Hamas and People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant groups quickly retorted that the three attackers who were killed were their members.

The men, who were armed with an automatic weapon and knives, carried out near simultaneous attacks at two locations.

Police Staff Sgt Hadas Malka, 23, was stabbed to death.

"The attack was carried out by three Palestinians, two PFLP members and a Hamas member," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

The PFLP said its two attackers were relatives who were both former prisoners in Israeli jails.

It was the latest bloodshed in a wave of Palestinian attacks on civilians and soldiers that erupted in 2015.

At times the attacks were daily occurrences, but they have relatively subsided in recent months.

However, there have been a string of recent attacks near the Old City.

Since September 2015, Palestinian assailants have killed 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks.

In that time, some 250 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Israel identified most of them as attackers.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded on social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.

Palestinians say it stems from anger over decades of Israeli rule in territories they claim for their future state.

AP

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