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RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank opened fire at Palestinian protesters throwing stones at them on Friday, killing a 16-year-old, the Palestinian health ministry said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said Palestinians had been throwing firebombs at vehicles travelling near the city of Hebron and that Israeli soldiers had been in immediate danger and fired at a suspect.

The spokeswoman said the military were checking reports the youth had died.

At least 239 Palestinians have been killed in Israel and the Palestinian Territories in a period of sporadic violence that began in October 2015 but has tapered off in recent months.

Israel says at least 159 were Palestinians who launched stabbing, shooting or ramming attacks on Israelis before being killed by Israeli security forces, while others died during clashes and protests.

Two American tourists and 37 Israelis have been killed in such incidents since October 2015.

Israel has accused the Palestinian leadership of inciting the violence. The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, denies incitement and says assailants have acted out of frustration over Israel's five-decade-old occupation of land the Palestinians seek for a future state.

The last round of peace talks broke down in 2014.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Maayan Lubell; editing by Andrew Roche)

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