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A Palestinian protester hurls back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank village of Beita, near Nablus May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian during stone-throwing clashes in the occupied West Bank on Friday, residents and the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said about 100 Palestinians were involved in what she described as a violent riot during which they threw stones at Israeli soldiers. "In response to the threat the soldiers fired riot dispersal means," she said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the man killed had been shot in the chest. Residents of the West Bank village Nabi Saleh, near the city of Ramallah, said he was shot during stone-throwing clashes that erupted after Friday prayers.

At least 244 Palestinians have died during a wave of sporadic violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, that began in October 2015. At least 164 of them had launched stabbing, shooting or car ramming attacks, Israel says. Others died during clashes and protests.

In the same period of violence, 37 Israelis, two American tourists and a British student have been killed. The frequency of the attacks has slowed but has not stopped.

Israel has said the Palestinian leadership is inciting the violence. The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, denies incitement and says that, in many cases, Israel has used excessive force in thwarting attackers armed with rudimentary weapons.

(Reporting by Alis Sawafta and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Alison Williams)

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