A Border Police guard was critically wounded and four others were lightly to moderately injured on Friday in a coordinated stabbing and shooting attack in two areas in Jerusalem’s Old City.
One attacker armed with a knife stabbed and injured a female cop, 20, on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate. She was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem for treatment. The hospital said she was undergoing surgery in efforts to save her life.
The attacker was shot and killed.
In a nearby location, at Zedekiah’s Cave, two attackers, one of them with a knife and another with a homemade Carl Gustav sub-machine gun, attacked a group of Border Police officers.
The troops opened fire and killed the attackers.
According to initial reports, the firearm held by the attacker jammed, averting a possibly much deadlier attack.
Both attackers were shot and killed by troops. Palestiniam media named the three assailants as Adel Ankush, 18, from the West Bank village of Deir Abu-Mash’al near Ramallah, Bra’a Salah, 18, from the same village, and Amar Bedui, 31 from Hebron.
In addition to the female officer, four more people were injured in the attacks, including another cop. They all sustained light to moderate wounds and were being treated in hospital.
The attack took place as Muslims were marking the end of the third Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, during which tens of thousands of Palestinians from east Jerusalem and the West Bank attended prayers at the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site.
Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy said in a briefing with reporters that police suspect they arrived from the West Bank earlier in the day for Ramadam prayers and suggested that at least some of them did not have permits to cross into Israel.
“During Ramadan there are large numbers of (Palestinian) youths who enter without permits, they take advantage of Ramadan to be in Jerusalem,” he told media at the scene of the attack, adding that in some cases “this is what we get,” in reference to the coordinated attack.
Israel last month announced that it was relaxing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, including easier access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, issuing more travel permits and allowing some to travel abroad. The measures were similar to those of previous years.
Over the past 18 months the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in one case a Jordanian national.