Violence continued to blight the streets of a beleaguered Jerusalem Friday and Saturday, following deadly rioting and two consecutive Palestinian terrorist attacks outside the Old City that left two civilians and three Special Patrol officers wounded.
Both assailants were shot dead by police at the scene of the attacks.
On Friday night, another Palestinian man was killed after opening fire on Border Police during a full-scale riot at Shuafat refugee camp, following the funeral of another terrorist.
In the first attack on Saturday, shortly before 11 a.m., a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist stabbed two Jewish men in their 60s with a knife some 150 meters from Damascus Gate, leaving them in moderate and light condition, said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
The teenager then charged Border Police officers stationed in the area before being shot dead, Rosenfeld said. Both victims were treated at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics and rushed to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
Jerusalem stabbing scene October 10
A riot ensued moments later, when dozens of Arab men converged on the scene, forcing police to use non-lethal means, including stun grenades and sponge bullets, to disperse the mob, Rosenfeld said.
Hours later, at approximately 3 p.m., a 19-year-old Palestinian assailant from Shuafat refugee camp stabbed two Special Patrol officers near Damascus Gate before being shot and killed, he said.
“Following the earlier terrorist attack in the area, police saw a suspicious Arab man and asked him for identification as part of the intensive police operations taking place in and around the Old City to prevent further attacks,” said Rosenfeld.
“After handing over his ID card, the terrorist stabbed one of the officers in the neck and another one in the upper body. Police nearby shot and killed him, and a third officer was lightly wounded when he was accidentally struck by one of the bullets.”
Rosenfeld said the three officers were rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in light and serious-to-moderate condition.
Police have since cordoned off the area near Damascus Gate to avert further violence, and initiated an investigation to determine if the assailants acted alone, Rosenfeld said.
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Palestinian gunman who was shot during a riot at Shuafat refugee camp Friday night, died of his wounds this morning, Rosenfeld said.
The riot broke out following the funeral of a terrorist killed by police last week, after stabbing a 15-year-old Israeli boy near an east Jerusalem light rail stop and charging Border Police officers. That attack occurred a few hours after another terrorist murdered Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita, by the Old City’s Lions’ Gate.
Prior to the funeral, police held the assailant’s body amid heated negotiations with his family to ensure the burial procession was peaceful. Nonetheless, Rosenfeld said Border Police were attacked by a mob of masked and armed Palestinians around the time of the service.
“Border Police responded to a riot at Shuafat refugee camp at around 11 p.m. and were attacked by hundreds of Palestinians who threw rocks, petrol bombs, pipe bombs, and used live fire,” he said.
“Fearing for their lives, police shot the gunman and seized his weapon, then used non-lethal means to disperse the crowd to avoid any other injuries.”
No officers were wounded during the riot and no arrests were made, Rosenfeld said.
Tensions were already boiling over in Shuafat, after Wissam Faraj, 20, was killed Thursday night during another riot, when he attacked Border Policemen who entered the area to search the home of Subhi Abu Khalifa, who is suspected of stabbing a yeshiva student in the neck in Jerusalem earlier in the day.
Rosenfeld said at least nine officers were lightly wounded during the clash.
Hours following that riot, a Palestinian youth was arrested after repeatedly punching a 16-year-old Jewish boy in the face and then stabbing him in the shoulder on Jerusalem’s well-traveled Shmuel HaNavi Street, located in the north-central part of the capital, Rosenfeld said.
The Israeli teen, who did not realize he was stabbed, was treated at the scene by MDA paramedics before being transferred to Hadassah University Medical Center at Mt. Scopus in light condition.
The terrorist fled the scene on foot before being tackled by police, Rosenfeld said.
He added that police have heightened security in the capital to the highest level, and continue to respond to terrorist attacks immediately.
“Police units are at the scenes of a wave of terrorist attacks almost instantly, and are making sure that the terrorists are apprehended, neutralized or killed immediately,” he said.
“Extra units have also been deployed in the Old City and all public areas, including the bus and trains stations and malls, to respond immediately.”
Rosenfeld added that multiple police units are also carefully patrolling Route 1, from Damascus Gate to French Hill.
“Police are leaving nothing to chance and will continue to try to prevent, and immediately respond to, terrorist attacks,” he said.
The recent wave of violence began last month after Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon barred two violent Islamic fundamentalist groups from the Temple for attacking and harassing Jewish visitors.
The Palestinian Authority and other Arab groups have since falsely claimed that the Israeli government intends to seize al-Aksa Mosque, despite repeated assurances from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the contrary.
The PA’s incitement has inspired numerous “lone wolf attacks” in the capital, carried out by young Palestinian men and women in and around the Old City and other flashpoint neighborhoods.
The attacks have become so chronic that on Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat urged Jewish residents with gun licenses to remain armed when walking the streets of the city.
In an effort to deescalate tensions, Netanyahu has barred all right-wing Israeli politicians from ascending the Temple Mount until order is restored.
Police have also instituted a temporary age ban on all Muslim men under 50 from praying at the contested holy site.
Since October 1, two Jews have been killed in Jerusalem knife attacks, with nearly a dozen others, including a Jewish toddler, wounded. In response, police have deployed over 1,000 extra officers throughout the capital and arrested nearly 300 Palestinians.
In the meantime, as of Saturday night, a normally bustling Jaffa Road and Ben Yehuda Street had only a sprinkling of patrons at its many cafes and shops, as police helicopters circles overhead.