Three Israelis were killed and over 20 wounded Tuesday in multiple terror attacks focused on Jerusalem and Ra’anana. It was the latest day of violence in a terror spree that has lasted for over a week and seen attacks on Israelis throughout the country.
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Tuesday night, the security cabinet met to develop a response to the deteriorating security situation, and authorized police impose closures on East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Two Israelis were killed after two terrorists boarded an articulated bus on the 78 route in Jerusalem’s Armon HaNatziv (East Talpiyot) neighborhood yesterday morning. One assailant opened fire within the bus while the other attacked passengers with a knife until police arrived and subdued them. At least 16 other Israelis were wounded in the attack, and at least one person is in critical condition. One of the attackers was killed, while the other is in serious condition in a local hospital.
“One of the terrorists tried to take control of the bus and did not let passengers get off,” said an eyewitness. “I blocked the bus with my car and kept it from moving until the police and security guards arrived.”
The identity of one of two Israelis killed in the attack was cleared for publication last night: Haim Haviv, 78, from Jerusalem.
Less than an hour later, Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky, 60, was killed in a vehicle ramming attack in Malchei Yisrael Street in central Jerusalem. Five others were wounded in the incident. Kirshevsky’s funeral was held yesterday afternoon.
Earlier in the morning, a 22-year-old Palestinian stabbed a passerby on Ra’anana’s main thoroughfare Ahuza Street, lightly wounding him. Passersby subdued the attacker; a few of them beat and injured him seriously, before the police arrived and evacuated him to hospital.
According to the spokesperson for the city of Ra’anana, the attacker stabbed one person at a bus stop not far from town hall before a passersby jumped on him and pushed the knife out of his hand.
The attacker sustained serious injuries and was possibly shot during the attempts to disarm him. A 32-year-old Israel was lightly wounded in the attack, sustaining a knife wound to the chest. The attacker was later identified by police as a 22-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem.
An hour and a half later, another stabbing incident occurred in Ra’anana, this time near the Beit Loewenstein Rehabilitation Center at the corner of Ahuza Street and Jerusalem Boulevard. The attacker, 28, who works for the city, is a resident of East Jerusalem. He stabbed four people, one of whom is in serious condition and the others lightly wounded. The assailant was chased by civilians as he tried to flee. A driver who noticed the incident hit him with his car before subduing him with the help of another motorist. He was then apprehended by police and given medical care. Roadblocks were set up at the entrances to Ra’anana following the two attacks in as many hours.
Later a stabbing in took place in Kiryat Ata, with a Jewish Israeli man stabbing another Jewish Israeli, apparently misidentifying him as an Israeli Arab. Also yesterday, an Israeli Arab was lightly wounded after being attacked by a Jewish Israeli man in Netanya.
In the evening, a 20-year-old Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in the vicinity of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The Palestinian was identified as Moatez Zuwahara.
Approximately 30 Palestinians breached the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the late afternoon. IDF troops fired gas grenades and used other riot control measures. Palestinian medical officials in the Gaza Strip reported dozens of casualties in clashes with IDF troops in the Erez Crossing area. According to reports, more than 40 were taken to Gaza hospitals.
In the Israeli-Arab city of Sakhnin, about 20,000 demonstrators gathered for a solidarity rally with the Palestinians. “We’ve been warning for months that they’re doing in Al-Aqsa will spark an intifada, and no one listened, and now everyone’s asking what happened. You lie, and you hurt the mosque, and you’re trying to change the status-quo with changing opening hours [to the compound],” MK Ahmad Tibi said at the rally.
The five terrorists who carried out four of the attacks in Jerusalem and Ra’anana Tuesday morning are all residents of East Jerusalem, and at least three of them live in the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood.
The attack on Jerusalem’s Malchei Yisrael Street was carried out by Ala’a Abu Jamal, a resident of Jabal Mukaber who works for the Bezeq phone company. Abu Jamal is a relative of Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, who carried out the murders of four worshippers and a Druze police officer (who arrived in response) at a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of the capital in November 2014, said Palestinian sources.
Just last week, Israeli security forces demolished the home of Ghassan Abu Jamal in Jabal Mukaber, abutting the Jewish neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv; they also sealed the home of Uday Abu Jamal. Almost a year ago, the High Court of Justice rejected petitions from the families against the demolition, but the government only followed through now.
The terror attack on the bus in Armon Hanatziv was also carried out by two men from Jabal Mukaber, and the two stabbing attacks this morning in Ra’anana were also carried out by Palestinians from East Jerusalem.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan held consultations Tuesday to discuss measures that may be taken in light of the terror incidents perpetrated by the East Jerusalem residents. Under consideration are imposition of a full curfew on neighborhoods in the eastern part of the capital, and the possibility of easing the requirements for receiving a license to carry a weapon.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had earlier called for a closure of the Arab neighborhoods East Jerusalem, explaining that he was aware of the high price of such a move. But, he insisted, “the lives of the residents of Jerusalem are more important than anything else.”