Israeli troops have shot and wounded a Palestinian teenager who stabbed a pregnant Israeli woman in the occupied West Bank, amid signs of Palestinians stepping up attacks against Israelis inside Jewish settlements.
The military ordered Palestinian labourers to leave their workplaces in some settlements as the violence spread from streets and bus stops in the West Bank and Israel to within the usually well-protected Israeli enclaves.
Hospital officials said the woman stabbed in Tekoa, a settlement near Bethlehem, was in moderate condition at a Jerusalem hospital, with the foetus unharmed.
The stabber, 17, was in serious condition after being shot in the leg. He is being treated at a separate Jerusalem hospital.
The stabbing was the second at a settlement in as many days. On Sunday, an assailant stabbed to death a mother of six at her home in the southern West Bank. The attacker is still being sought.
The Israeli military ordered all Palestinian labourers who work in the large Gush Etzion bloc of settlements in the southern West Bank to leave their places of employment. Some were seen being driven away in the back of a large dump truck.
"In light of situation assessments and following recent terror attacks ... Palestinian workers have been instructed to leave (Gush Etzion) communities," an army statement said.
Analysts said increased tensions could prompt settlers, who have a strong voice in Israel's right-wing government, to urge policymakers to impose more travel and employment restrictions on Palestinians. If that happens, it could further ratchet up tensions.
The wave of attacks, now in its fourth month, has been fuelled by Palestinian frustration over the collapse of peace talks and the growth of Jewish settlements on land Palestinians seek for a future state.
Also stoking the violence has been Muslim opposition to increased Jewish visits to Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque complex, which is one of the holiest sites in Islam and is revered in Judaism as the location of two ancient biblical temples.
Since October 1 when the upsurge in violence began, Palestinian stabbings, car-rammings and gun attacks have killed 25 Israelis and a US citizen.
In the same period, at least 148 Palestinians have been killed, 94 of whom Israel has described as assailants.