Four terrorist attacks in the span of 12 hours on Monday have brought Jerusalem to its highest state of alert in years.
Following the latest attack shortly after 9 p.m., police briefly shut the entrance to the city after a Palestinian man on an Egged bus stabbed an IDF soldier before being shot dead, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The soldier was taken to hospital were he was listed as lightly wounded.
A 13-year-old Jewish boy remains in critical condition after two Palestinian teenagers stabbed him nearly a dozen times in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, in what was the third attack of the day.
According to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the suspects in that attack, ages 13 and 15, are cousins from the Jerusalem’s northern neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Neither youth has any prior record of security-related incidents, the Shin Bet said.
“Both terrorists attacked the boy while he was riding his bicycle, and stabbed him many times all over his body before a driver stopped the 13-year-old terrorist by ramming his car into him,” Rosenfeld said. “The other assailant then stabbed a 24-year-old Jewish man nearby before being shot dead by police.”
Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene moments later, and rushed the boy and second victim, who was in serious condition, to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, as police cordoned-off the area, Rosenfeld said.
The 13-year-old assailant was taken to hospital where he was listed in serious condition, he said.
Life as usual in the Old City?
Less than an hour before that attack at about 3 p.m. a Palestinian woman was shot after stabbing a Border Police officer near the capital’s police headquarters. Rosenfeld said that attack took place near the Ammunition Hill light rail stop, when the unidentified suspect stabbed the officer on a sidewalk.
“Officers on the scene shot the woman immediately and cordoned off the area,” he said. “The officer was treated by Magen David Adom paramedics and rushed to an area hospital in light-to-moderate condition.”
Rosenfeld said the suspect was seriously injured and also hospitalized.
During the day’s first attack at 9 a.m., a Palestinian terrorist was shot and killed near Lion’s Gate, in the Arab Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, after attempting to stab a Border Police officer.
The assailant, whom police deemed suspicious, was asked to stop for a spot inspection before pulling a knife from his pocket and charging one of the officers, and stabbing him in his metal breastplate, Rosenfeld said.
Police immediately opened fire, killing the assailant, later identified as 18-year-old Mustafa Hatib, from the southeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber.
Acting Israel Police commissioner Asst.-Ch. Benzi Sau has ordered 1,000 extra highly- trained Border Police officers dispatched to the Old City and flashpoint Arab neighborhoods to assist 3,500 other officers.
Stabbing attacks against Jews have become so common that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat last Thursday encouraged citizens with gun permits to remain armed when walking the city streets.
In a statement following Monday’s third attack, Barkat condemned the depravity of the terrorists.
“To our shock and horror, the cruelty of murderers who attack innocent civilians and children on their way home from school knows no limit, confronting us all with a shocking form of evil,” Barkat said. “This cruel and merciless terrorism is the result of incitement and inflammatory lies. We must act swiftly and decisively both against the terrorists, as well as against those who are spreading this incitement.”
Barkat urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take more aggressive action.
“I call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to implement more severe means and to take strong action against those who are inciting terrorism with their inflammatory statements and messages,” he said. “I would like to commend and thank the security forces, security guards and dedicated citizens who took swift action in all of the recent events, bravely neutralizing terrorists and stopping killing sprees.”
The mayor went on to call on residents to unite and remain strong.
“I ask the public to act in a vigilant and responsible manner, and most of all to demonstrate unity, strength and determination in this war against lonewolf terrorists,” he said. “I wish our wounded a speedy recovery. We will continue with our routine in this current situation, with maximal vigilance, and while continuing our fight against terror with unwavering determination.”
Meanwhile, the West Bank saw a drop in the number of clashes between Palestinians and the IDF on Monday.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 26 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with the IDF. The biggest occurred near Ayosh junction between Ramallah and Bet El, where hundreds of rioters threw rocks and rolled burning tires at soldiers, who responded with crowd control measures.
In Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, a border policeman shot and struck a Palestinian rioter who was hurling a firebomb at security forces.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians shot at a military position near the village of Nabi Saleh in the Binyamin region.
Palestinians threw stones and firebombs at Israeli vehicles. The Har Hebron Regional Council reported eight such incidents, including one in which an IDF soldier was lightly wounded by a stone.
Stones lightly injured two Israelis traveling on Route 5 in Samaria, near the exit for the Peduel settlement.
Rosenfeld said police remain vigilant in Jerusalem.
“Police continue to step up security and will continue to prevent or neutralize terrorists who carry out attacks,” he said.Yaakov Lappin and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.