Palestinian Stabs Two Israelis in Jerusalem; Israeli Army Reportedly Kills Palestinian Teen Near Bethlehem

One of those wounded in Jerusalem attack said to be in critical condition ■ In West Bank incident, 16-year-old Palestinian said to be part of group trying to bypass checkpost

Israeli forces at Damascus gate, on of the entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem, after a stabbing attack on Friday, June 31, 2019.
Police Spokesperson Unit

A 50-year-old man was critically wounded on Friday in a suspected stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City, and another lightly wounded, emergency services said. In the West Bank, Israeli security forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian east of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Health Ministry in Ramallah said, after he reportedly tried to evade a checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem.

Israeli police said officers at the scene in Jerusalem shot and killed the suspect, a Palestinian from the West Bank allowed into Israel for the last Friday of Ramadan. The attack occurred in the early morning, around 6:20 A.M., police said.

The first stabbing occurred near Damascus Gate, and the victim was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The 50-year-old was stabbed in the neck and head, and was evacuated to the hospital in critical condition.

The second attack happened near Hurva Synagogue, in the Old City's Jewish Quarter. A 18-year-old was stabbed in the back, suffering modrate wounds. The attacker carried out the first stabbing and then started running away, stabbing a second person, and was eventually shot by security forces.

"We saw an 16-year-old man on the stairs next to the Hurva Synagogue who was wounded in the upper body," said  Joseph Cassouto, a medic from the Magen David Adom rescue service who lives in the Old City.

"We gave him emergency medical treatment to stop the bleeding, he was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital by ambulance with the assistance of an intensive care unit," he said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah named the attacker as Yossouf Vajaya, an 18-year-old from the Palestinian village of Abwein, close to Ramallah.

Israeli forces kill teen trying to bypass checkpoint

According to Palestinian reports, a teen named Abdullah Rit was part of a group of youths who attempted to bypass the Mazmuriya checkpoint near Bethlehem on their way to Jerusalem, at which point Israeli soldiers opened fire.

Rit was hit in the chest and was evacuated to the hospital in Beit Jala, where he died of his wounds. Another Palestinian, aged 21, was wounded in the abdomen and taken to a hospital in Bethlehem for further treatment in severe condition. 

The Israeli army said it opened an inquiry into the report.

Israeli border police reported of an incident, which it claimed was the same as the Palestinian report, in which two Palestinians were spotted trying to climb  a fence into Israel, and were shot at.

According to the report, which does not specify where the attempted breach took place, footage of the incident shows the two getting off the fence and leaving the area after they were fired upon with crowd control measures.

The police refused a Haaretz request to examine the video of the incident.

Following the incident, Palestinian reports said Israel closed the Bethlehem crossing, leaving thousands on their way to Jerusalem stuck there. Many were headed for prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the last Friday of Ramadan. 

Also Friday, police said it arrested a 40-year-old Palestinian at the Qalandiyah crossing in the West Bank after a knife was found hidden inside his jacket during a security check. He was transferred for interrogation.

The commander of the Jerusalem District instructed to increase security check-ups in the region following the stabbing, as part of an effort to stave further attempts of such lone wolf attacks.

Last month, Israeli security forces shot and wounded a Palestinian man attempting to carry out a stabbing attack in the West Bank, Border Police said, reporting no further wounded in the incident.

A 20-year-old resident of Saniriya, a village in the northern West Bank, was shot by Israeli security forces as he approached a Border Police outpost at the Tapuah Junction and "behaved suspiciously," according to the Israel Police spokesperson.

The suspect was evacuated in critical condition by the Israeli army for medical attention.

Earlier last month, a Palestinian man was killed after he allegedly tried to carry out a stabbing attack at the Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus. Another Palestinian man was moderately wounded and taken to hospital, the Palestinian Health Ministry said at the time.

The Israeli military reported no further wounded in the suspected attack, adding an armed settler, and not a member of the security forces, shot the man.