(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Roadblocks will be removed from the main entrances to several east Jerusalem neighborhoods where violence occurred, police announced on Wednesday, following a relative restoration of security in the capital.
Removal of the barriers is aimed at freeing up traffic in the neighborhoods, in an effort to “enable the greater public to get back to their regular and safe daily routines,” police said, citing “the achievement of a certain amount of stability.”
The most recent terrorist attack in the capital took place on Friday at the Ammunition Hill light rail stop, when an Arab man stabbed a Jewish man before being shot dead by police. A second Jewish man was accidentally shot in the leg by police in the ensuing crossfire.
The victims are now in satisfactory or good condition.
Prior to Friday’s attack, more than 5,000 deployed Border Police officers – aided by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF – had succeeded in preventing any serious attacks in the city for nearly two weeks.
Numerous roadblocks and checkpoints were erected last month in neighborhoods known to harbor assailants during the height of a wave of terrorism that claimed several Jewish lives in the city, and left more than a dozen Israelis seriously wounded.
A temporary 5-meter-high concrete wall placed at the entrance of Jebl Mukaber in the capital’s southeast, where several terrorists who carried out attacks lived, spurred debate internationally and locally over whether the city should be permanently divided.
However, both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat have long been resolute that the “united model” for the capital must remain in place.
Roadblocks in Wadi Joz and Sheikh Jarrah in the city’s northeast have already been removed, while those in Abu Tor and Silwan in the southeast are in the process of being taken down, police said.
Additionally, the roadblocks in Isawiya and Jebl Mukaber will be eased, the force said.
Meanwhile, police emphasized that heightened security and “all available measures against terrorist perpetrators and those who break the law” will remain in effect.