Two Jewish youths were stabbed by a knife-wielding assailant in Jerusalem’s Old City late Saturday night and hospitalized with light to moderate wounds. The suspect, a Palestinian man, fled the scene but was later apprehended by security services at his East Jerusalem home.
The two youths, aged 15 and 18, were attacked near the Damascus Gate while heading for the Western Wall. Security services commenced a large-scale sweep of the area in an attempt to locate the attacker.
A suspicious figure was identified in footage taken by security cameras in the area, and the suspect was arrested upon returning to his residence. A search conducted in the vicinity of his home revealed a knife and several other items linking him to the attack. The man was then taken for questioning.
This is not the first time a suspect has been apprehended after being filmed on security footage in the Old City, which is equipped with an extensive camera network.
The male victims were found on the scene, fully conscious, with multiple stab wounds to their torsos. A Magen David Adom paramedic team rushed them to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. The 18-year-old was stabbed in the back and lightly wounded. The 15-year-old was stabbed in the chest, suffering light to moderate wounds.
July 1 will mark the first anniversary of the brutal murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, an act that triggered a wave of violent uprisings in East Jerusalem. During the winter, it seemed as if the situation in the capital had stabilized and that the violence was abating, but the events of recent weeks have shown that any optimism was premature.
Saturday’s stabbing marks the fourth attack in two weeks on Israelis in the Jerusalem area. Last Wednesday, two police officers were lightly wounded after being rammed by a car in the A-Tur neighborhood, by the Mount of Olives. The assailant, a resident of Jabal Mukkaber, was shot and killed by one of the officers.
A week earlier, four youths were wounded, one of them seriously, when a car slammed into them at the entrance to the Alon Shvut settlement in the West Bank.
In the past six months, a total of 14 attacks have been carried out in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. The majority of them were carried out by “lone wolf” assailants, acting without organizational backing or prior planning – which makes it difficult for security services to thwart them. The police believe that at least some of the attacks were carried out spontaneously.
At the same time, there have been frequent protests and almost daily clashes between police and Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Last week, demonstrations were held in A-Tur, Jabal Mukkaber, Shoafat refugee camp and other places. Last Thursday, a 10-year-old boy from Shoafat was hit in the eye with a sponge-tipped bullet; it was reported over the weekend that the child will most likely lose the eye.
A video capturing the incident was circulating on social media, with the footage indicating that the child was not holding a rock, or actively participating in the stone-throwing that was occurring at the time.
Also Thursday, a group of some 20 Jewish youths attacked five Palestinian youths in central Jerusalem without provocation. Aviv Tatarsky, an activist from a Jerusalem group combating racism, witnessed the incident. “They were five up against about 20 Jews. The Jews came down on them, and one of the Palestinians took a serious blow to the head. Instinctively I began to scream ‘Police! Police!’ Immediately, the group of Jews ran off. I approached the Palestinians, two of whom were Canadian citizens who came to visit family from East Jerusalem. They were extremely frightened and asked me in English what the assailants wanted from them. I told them this is the situation here, and they need to find a way to get away,” said Tatarsky.
During the incident, Tatarsky attempted to attract the attention of two nearby Border Police officers, but he said they remained indifferent, and later checked the Palestinians’ documents. Jerusalem police said they were unaware of the incident.