Israeli police says officers have shot dead a Palestinian who tried to stab them in Jerusalem.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says the policemen approached a man who drew their suspicions just outside the Old City for following a pair of Jewish worshippers. Then he pulled out a knife and tried to stab one of them. Samri said the officers opened fire and killed the assailant.

The incident is the latest in three months of violence. Since mid-September, 20 Israelis have been killed in attacks. At least 127 Palestinians have died in the same period, of whom 87 Israel says were attacking or attempting to attack Israelis.

Israel blames the Palestinian attacks on incitement. Palestinians say the violence stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli military rule.