JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops killed two Palestinians who tried to stab a soldier on Sunday, the Israeli army said, in West Bank violence that placed further strain on U.S. efforts to get indirect peace talks under way.
The deaths raised to four the number of Palestinians killed in the past two days in violent incidents in the occupied territory.
"Two men tried to stab a soldier during a routine patrol near the Awarta security crossing near Nablus. The force opened fire and confirmed their death," an army spokeswoman said.
On Saturday, troops shot and killed a Palestinian near Nablus in clashes with stone throwers protesting Jewish settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured and occupied in a 1967 war.
A second Palestinian died of his wounds on Sunday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to meet U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell later in the day.
Mitchell's efforts to restart peace negotiations suspended since December 2008 were dealt a setback two weeks ago after Israel announced plans to build 1,600 new homes for Jews in a settlement near East Jerusalem and Palestinians rescinded their agreement to begin indirect talks.
(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jon Hemming)