Police kill Palestinian attacker after stabbing Jerusalem


JERUSALEM – Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian after stabbing and wounding an ultra-Orthodox Jew on Saturday near the Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, a tense and overcrowded area that is often the scene of demonstrations and clashes.

The Magen David Adom emergency department said it treated an ultra-Orthodox man in his 20s who was stabbed, saying he was in moderate to severe condition.

Israeli police released surveillance footage in which the assailant can be seen stabbing the Jewish man and then attempting to stab a border police officer before he was shot and fell to the ground. Police identified the assailant as a 25-year-old man from Salfit, in the occupied West Bank.

“The awareness and the rapid reactions of the police resulted in the neutralization of the terrorist,” the police said in a statement. Police could then be seen transporting the body on a stretcher.

Large numbers of security forces were deployed to the area, where they briefly confronted a crowd of young Palestinians before dispersing them with tear gas and stun grenades.

Damascus Gate was the epicenter of protests and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police last spring, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The unrest spread to other parts of the city, including a nearby holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims, ultimately helping to spark the 11-day war in Gaza.

The Old City is in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war with the West Bank and Gaza. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in a move unrecognized internationally and regards the entire city as its capital. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, including the West Bank and Gaza.

There have been dozens of attacks in recent years in and around the Old City, almost all carried out by individual Palestinians with no known link to armed groups. The Islamic militant group Hamas, which runs Gaza, welcomed Saturday’s attack but did not take responsibility for it.

The latest attack came just over a week after a Hamas activist opened fire in the Old City, killing an Israeli and injuring four others before being shot dead by police. It was not clear whether the Hamas leadership ordered the attack or whether the man acted alone.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed his support for the police after Saturday’s attack, saying they “acted swiftly and with great determination, as one would expect from the Israel Police, against a terrorist who attempted to assassinate an Israeli citizen “.

But the video showing the assailant being shot while on the ground has prompted calls for an investigation.

Esawi Frej, a left-wing Arab minister in the Israeli government, who includes factions from all political backgrounds, said the shooting should be investigated. “The attackers must be shot to save lives, not to be killed when they no longer pose a threat,” he tweeted.

Palestinians and Israeli rights groups say security forces sometimes use excessive force in response to attacks, killing suspected attackers who could have been arrested or who did not pose an immediate threat to the security forces .

In one widely publicized case, Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was filmed shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground. Azaria then served two-thirds of a 14-month sentence after being convicted of manslaughter.

His case strongly divided the Israelis. The military pushed for him to be prosecuted, claiming he had violated his code of ethics, while many Israelis, especially from the nationalist right, defended his actions.

In a more recent case, a border police officer was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of an autistic Palestinian in Jerusalem’s Old City last year.

The indictment came just over a year after the shooting of Eyad Hallaq, whose family criticized the Israeli investigation into the murder and called for much tougher charges. The shooting drew comparisons to the murder of George Floyd by police in the United States.

Israel says its security forces are doing everything possible to avoid injuring civilians and that they are investigating allegations of abuse.

Rights groups say Israel rarely holds members of its security forces responsible for the deadly shootings against Palestinians. Investigations often end without charges or lenient penalties, and in many cases witnesses are not even called for questioning.


Comments are closed.