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Israel says security agents kill Palestinian ax-man in West Bank

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Palestinian motorist rammed an Israeli army jeep carrying intelligence officers in the occupied West Bank and then attacked them with an ax before being shot dead on Monday, Israeli officials said.

They said two occupants of the jeep were wounded in the incident, which police said took place on a road outside the Jewish settlement of Shavei Shomron, west of the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Palestinian witnesses identified the dead man as Hatem Shadid of the nearby village of Alar.

The witnesses said that after the vehicles collided, Shadid approached the Israelis, who were already injured from the crash, hitting one in the head and the other in the shoulder with an object that he was carrying.

One of the Israelis then shot him dead, both sides said.

"First indications are that this was a terrorist attack," said an official with the Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency that monitors Palestinian and Jewish militants in the West Bank under tight secrecy and whose officers were involved in Monday's incident.

West Bank tensions have been simmering since Israel's 8-day-war with the Gaza Strip last month and the de facto U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood last week, which the Jewish state had sought to block.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an expansion in Jewish settlement-building in the West Bank following the United Nations vote.

Shadid's brother Khaled, reached by Reuters, said he had not received any official notification of the death. He said Shadid was a 35-year-old construction worker with five children.

(Writing by Dan Williams and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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