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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot dead a 19-year-old man on Tuesday who ran at them with a knife at a Jerusalem area checkpoint often used by Palestinians, later discovering he had apparently wanted to kill himself. 

Police initially said the attacker was Palestinian, but then identified him as a Jewish man from Jerusalem.

"The security officers felt immediate danger on their lives and took measures to ... neutralise him," said a police spokeswoman.

She confirmed media reports that, while investigating the background to the incident, it became apparent to police that the man had been trying to commit suicide.

Israeli forces have been on high alert -- especially at such crossings around Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank -- since a wave of Palestinian street attacks began in October 2015. The frequency of the attacks has slowed but not stopped.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive force and say some of those killed posed no threat or had no intention of attacking anyone.

Palestinian leaders say assailants have acted out of desperation over the collapse of peace talks in 2014 and Israeli settlement expansion in occupied territory that Palestinians seek for an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Reuters