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Palestinian arrested over killing of Israeli in settlement: Army

Arrest follows fatal stabbing of Israeli woman in West Bank settlement that has stoked fears of further unrest and crackdown on Palestinians
Israeli security forces stand guard next to Palestinian workers near Tekoa settlement south of Jerusalem on 18 January (AFP)

The Israeli army said on Tuesday it had arrested a young Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli at her home in a West Bank settlement.

The suspect, whose age and identity were not given, was from a village close to the Otniel settlement where Dafna Meir, 38, was stabbed to death on Sunday, the military said in a statement.

While Sunday's killing was part of a months-long wave of violence, it was the first inside a Jewish settlement home in the occupied West Bank and triggered fears that the unrest was worsening and that Israel would impose a harsh security crackdown on Palestinians.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, signalled further security measures on Monday, pledging to "strengthen the communities" after the deadly stabbing in the Otniel settlement near the flashpoint city of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

"Whoever tries to harm us, we will bring him to justice," Netanyahu said. "In the end he will be found and he will pay the full price."

Meir was a 38-year-old nurse and mother of six. At least some of her children, aged four to 17, were home at the time of the attack, but were not hurt.

Her funeral in Jerusalem on Monday was attended by hundreds, including Israeli politicians and Jewish settlers carrying rifles.

Recent violence has brought the death toll to 155 Palestinians and 24 Israealis killed since 1 October.

Some of the Palestinians killed have been alleged attackers, while many others have been shot dead by Israeli forces during protests and clashes.

Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces during protests along the border with Gaza on Friday.

Israel's government had already come under heavy pressure over the spate of attacks and Sunday's killing provoked fresh outrage.

Most of the alleged stabbings have reportedly occurred in public places, including checkpoints, junctions and entrances to Jerusalem's Old City, and they have rarely been fatal.

Some analysts say the attacks have been in part driven by frustration with a lack of progress in peace efforts, Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the fractured Palestinian leadership.

Israel says incitement by Palestinian leaders and news media has been a main cause of the violence.

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