An American tourist is killed as several people are knifed in Jaffa by an assailant who is later shot dead by police.
Israel has been struck by three terror attacks in the space of two hours after shootings and stabbings in cities across the country.
The attack in Jaffa started at the port. Police say the assailant stabbed three people before running off down the promenade and stabbing several others who were sitting in their cars stuck in the rush hour traffic.
He then fled on foot towards Tel Aviv but was shot dead by police.
One of the victims, named as American tourist Taylor Force, has since died from his injuries. He had been on a faculty trip with other management students from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.
The Jaffa incident came shortly after a gunman opened fire at police in East Jerusalem near the Old City. Two policemen were wounded before the attacker was shot by Israeli troops.
The attack took place as US vice president Joe Biden arrived to meet former Israeli President Shimon Peres nearby.
“I notified the Vice President on the terrible incident that took place just a few hundred metres away from here in Jaffa,” Mr Peres said. “Terror leads to nowhere.”
Mr Biden’s office “condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal attack which occurred in Jaffa”.
“He expressed his sorrow at the tragic loss of American life and offered his condolences to the family of the American citizen murdered in the attack, as well as his wishes for a full and quick recovery for the wounded,” the statement said.
Minutes earlier there had been an attack in the city of Petah Tikva. The victim was stabbed in his upper body.
He then managed to wrestle the knife from the attacker before stabbing him to death according to eyewitness reports.
The attacks do not appear to have been coordinated but the violence will raise questions about whether Israel is in the midst of a worsening third Palestinian uprising, or Intifada.
The stabbings and shootings have been happening on an almost daily basis for the last five months but today’s level of violence represents an escalation.
The Palestinian attackers have all appeared to have been acting alone, although Israeli security services claim social media and Palestinian television has been an inciting factor.
Since the ‘Stabbing Intifada’ began in October last year there have been nearly 200 knife attacks and more than 80 shootings. The targets are Jewish Israeli civilians or the Israeli security forces.
Analysts say the wave of violence is being driven by the frustration many Palestinians feel at the Israeli occupation and the lack of hope in the absence of a peace process.
Alex Rossi Skynews