By Joe Dyke
An Israeli soldier and three Palestinian alleged attackers have been killed on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit in a bid to ease the bloodshed.
One soldier was stabbed to death while another was seriously wounded in the same attack on Monday (local time) at a petrol station in the occupied West Bank.
"A Palestinian murdered an Israeli and wounded another in an attack at a gas station on route 443," the Israeli army said, referring to a main road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that passes in part though the West Bank.
The assailant was shot dead at the scene.
Later, a military spokeswoman revealed one of the soldiers, a man named as 18-year-old Ziv Mizrahi, had died while the other, a female officer, had been wounded.
The stabbings were the latest in a wave of violence since October 1 that has left 92 Palestinians dead, including one Arab Israeli, as well as 17 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean.
More than half of the Palestinians killed have been alleged attackers, while others were shot during demonstrations and clashes with Israeli security forces, including along the Gaza border.
Kerry is due to arrive on Tuesday morning to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aimed at defusing the violence.
Earlier on Monday a teenage girl was killed and another seriously injured when they attacked an elderly man in Jerusalem, police said, the first stabbing in the city for nearly two weeks.
Security camera footage appeared to show the girls, apparently cousins aged 14 and 16, in school uniform chasing a man with scissors before being shot by a member of the security forces.
He then appears to shoot one of them again while she is already collapsed on the ground.
The man they targeted was identified as a 70-year-old Palestinian, possibly confused for an Israeli Jew, who suffered light injuries.
In another attack, a Palestinian was shot dead when trying to stab an Israeli soldier near Huwara to the south of Nablus.
The Palestinian health ministry identified the assailant as 16-year-old Khalil Hashash.
An 18-year-old Palestinian woman, identified by medical sources as Samah Abdullah, was shot and severely wounded in the same attack, apparently by accident.
On Monday evening, the Israeli army launched an air raid on the Gaza Strip after the Islamist movement Hamas fired a rocket into southern Israel, sources from both sides said, adding that no one was hurt.
Against this backdrop, Kerry's visit is aimed at defusing the current conflict.
There is little optimism he will be able to convince the Palestinian and Israeli leaders to resume peace talks, which broke down more than 18 months ago.