Israeli Police Officer Lightly Wounded in Attempted Stabbing in Jerusalem's Old City

Suspect shot dead as tensions run high following the escape of six Palestinian inmates from a maximum security Israeli prison earlier this week

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Palestinian suspected of attempted stabbing being taken to the hospital, Jerusalem's Old City, today.
Palestinian suspected of attempted stabbing being taken to the hospital, Jerusalem's Old City, today. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

An Israeli Border Police officer was lightly wounded during an attempted stabbing attack near Lions' Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday. A suspect was shot and later succumbed to his wounds.

Emergency services said that the 19-year-old policeman was wounded in the leg, likely from bullet fragments that had ricocheted. 

Following the incident, police closed off all the entrances to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, but reopened them shortly after. The suspect began trying to stab officers as soon as he arrived at the site, a police statement said.  

The suspected attacker was a 50-year-old resident of East Jerusalem. The Palestinian prisoners' administration identified him as Hazem Al-Julania, a well-known local doctor. Eyewitnesses, however, rejected the idea that he was involved in the attempted stabbing.

Police acknowledged that Al-Julani did not fit the usual profile of an attacker, but said that security cameras captured him attempted to hurt police officers.

Israeli forces later raided Al-Julania's home in Shuafat and some locals said that several of his relatives had been arrested.  

The Israeli military was preparing for a day of violence in the West Bank on Friday after Palestinian groups called for a "day of rage" in solidarity with six fugitives who sparked a countrywide manhunt after they broke out of prison earlier this week. 

The calls to protest also aim to draw the Palestinian public to mass demonstrations in East Jerusalem, as well as marches in the Gaza Strip.

The security establishment is also closely monitoring one Hamas prisoner on hunger strike, who has been evacuated to an Israeli hospital in a critical condition. It fears that any deterioration in his condition could lead to further escalation.

In a situation assessment following the escape, a security source said that all Palestinian factions and organizations are united in a rare consensus in their support for the escaped prisoners. 

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