Four stabbings in Tel Aviv, one in Jerusalem; "terrorist" killed, another injured and arrested
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – A Palestinian man stabbed and lightly wounded five people at the intersection of Menahem Begin Boulevard and Moses Street in Tel Aviv today. Described as a “terrorist” by police and media, he was chased by an Israel Defence Forces soldier and shot dead.
Earlier in the day, a 25-year-old Israeli man was badly wounded after being stabbed in Jerusalem. The attack took place by a light rail stop on Bar Lev Boulevard, next to Police national headquarters.
Special police forces quickly overpowered the assailant, who was identified as Subhi Ibrahim Mohammed Abu Khalifa, 19, a resident of the Shoafat refugee camp nearby Jerusalem. The security services said he had no prior arrests.
As of today, at least seven knife attacks have occurred in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv since 3 October, when a Palestinian killed two Israelis in the Old City, prompting an Israeli security crackdown.
Rioting in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank has seen youths throwing stones and firebombs face off against Israeli security forces firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.
Further clashes broke out at the Bet El checkpoint outside the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday.
"Israeli civilians are at the forefront of a war against terrorism and must also be on maximum alert," Netanyahu said on Wednesday after visiting a Jerusalem police headquarters.
Some Israeli mayors, including the mayor of Jerusalem, went as far as to encourage residents who own guns to carry them around with them.
However, an incident on Wednesday seemed to offer a rare glimpse of an Israeli undercover operation when masked infiltrators among a group of Palestinian stone-throwers suddenly pulled out pistols and opened fire as rocks flew towards them.
The incident, captured on video by an Agence France Presse journalist, saw three Palestinians wounded, including one critically from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
To reduce tensions, Netanyahu has banned all Israeli lawyers from visiting the Temple Mount.
The latter has fuelled tensions as some Israeli settlers and right-wingers want to pray on the esplanade, considered the site of the ancient Jewish temple.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (The Jewish Home Party) visited the Esplanade several times, along with nationalist clerics and other elected officials from Netanyahu’s own party.
Muslims fear that the constant visits by Jewish settlers at the esplanade will lead to a change in the status quo (which bans Jewish prayer).
Israeli Arab lawmakers have vowed to defy the order and visit the compound on Friday, when many Muslims attend prayers at Al-Aqsa.