Israel's police chief vows to return Jerusalem to 'normal' after attack

Alsheikh: No intent to turn capital into military fortress.

POLICE COMMISSIONER Roni Alsheikh visits an officer who was wounded in a terrorist attack in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
POLICE COMMISSIONER Roni Alsheikh visits an officer who was wounded in a terrorist attack in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
Jerusalem will not become a militarized police state following a spate of jarring terrorist attacks in the Old City, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh vowed on Monday.
During a tour of the site of Friday’s attacks at the Damascus Gate and in the Muslim Quarter, Alsheikh, accompanied by Yoram Halevy, commander of the Jerusalem District, said a return to normalcy will be difficult, but is imperative.
“The biggest challenge is to bring life back to normal as quickly as possible,” he said, before visiting a hospitalized officer who was wounded by shrapnel during the weekend’s bloody shooting and stabbing rampages that took the life of St.-Sgt-Maj. Hadas Malka, 23.
The three terrorists, who entered Jerusalem illegally from the West Bank, were shot and killed by police.
Despite claims of responsibility from Islamic State, Police say they acted independently.
Alsheikh visited the volatile area to oversee the recent deployment of special forces to prevent future attacks during the final week of Ramadan.
“As important as upgrading security is, it should be combined with the ability to maintain a regular life,” he said. “Our challenge is to provide service and security without creating a contradiction between them. There is no intention of turning Jerusalem into a military fortress that is not pleasant to enter and travel in, both for Israelis and for tourists from all over the world.”
Following the tour of the flashpoint area, Alsheikh and Halevy visited the unidentified Border Police officer at Hadassah University Medical Center.
After undergoing hours of surgery, the officer, whose eye was severely damaged by shrapnel during the shooting attack in Zedekiah’s Cave, is conscious and in stable condition, the hospital said.
Prof. Itai Chowers, head of the hospital’s Retinal Department, treated the officer during the delicate procedure.
“First, we removed the fragments [from the bullets] that penetrated deep into the retina, and then we performed surgery that lasted several hours,” Chowers said, adding that the officer’s improvement will be reviewed in the next few days.
“Our work, in conjunction with the Israel Police Forensics Department, was excellent and very effective, because we actually received the precise material components that penetrated his eye and were able to understand the damage we were dealing with,” he said.
During Alsheikh’s conversation with the recovering officer, whom he presented with gifts, the police commissioner noted the trauma of the attack, while praising the Border Police’s rapid response and heroism.
“We paid a heavy price, but I think the police functioned impressively, as our policemen know how to do in every situation,” he said. “Unfortunately, Jerusalem is a city saturated with friction where the Border Police are always on the front lines and there is a price for it.”
Alsheikh then told the officer: “I hope to see you return to duty soon.”