'A shocking form of evil': Stabbing attacks sweep Israel

by Kelly Ledbetter |

(REUTERS/Ammar Awad)A worker cleans the ground at the scene at the Lions gate of Jerusalem's Old City October 12, 2015. Israeli police shot dead a man who tried to stab one of them in East Jerusalem on Monday in what appeared to be the latest in a spate of Palestinian street attacks, police said.

JERUSALEM (Christian Examiner) – Rumors of a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising, are growing amid a rash of stabbing attacks by Palestinians that have occurred, centering on Jerusalem, throughout October.

On Monday, a 13-year-old Jewish boy riding his bike in his neighborhood was stabbed multiple times by 13-year-old and a 17-year-old Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reports. The younger Palestinian teen was subdued by a car driven by a passerby, while the older, who also stabbed a nearby 24-year-old Jewish man, was killed by police.

"Police continue to step up security and will continue to prevent or neutralize terrorists who carry out attacks," said Jerusalem police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, who has tweeted updates about the incidents.

Some violence is directed against police. On Monday, an attacker who allegedly pulled a knife on an officer near Lion's Gate in Jerusalem was shot and killed.

Four Israelis and 25 Palestinians, including seven alleged assailants and eight children, have died in 12 days of bloodshed, according to reporting by Reuters on Monday.

The surge in street violence is thought to be associated with the continued lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks coinciding with the Jewish high holidays.

Most of the terrorist attacks, described as "lone wolf" attacks by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, appear to be committed by individuals unaffiliated with organized terrorist groups.

STREET VIOLENCE ESCALATES

That there are too many individual occasions of near-daily stabbing since the beginning of October to list in detail is horrific.

Among the most recent is a stabbing and shooting involving a bus, in which two Palestinians armed with a knife and a gun attacked passengers on a bus on Tuesday.

Initially locking the bus so that no one could escape, they were subdued when border police broke in, killing one assailant and capturing the other. Two passengers were killed and seventeen were wounded, JNS, an online Jewish news service, reports.

That same day, another Palestinian drove his car into a group of people waiting at a bus stop. He killed one and wounded five with his knife before he was shot by police, according to JNS.

In another report, JNS covers a brutal car-ramming and stabbing attack in Hadera in northern Israel on Sunday. A 20-year-old Israeli Arab ran into a group of shoppers, got out of his vehicle, and began to stab the people around him.

One of the victims, allegedly both hit with the car and stabbed, was a 19-year-old female Israeli Air Force solider, who was put into a medically induced coma to treat her serious injuries.

The attacks on Monday and Tuesday followed the deployment of 2,000 police reinforcements in Jerusalem, Reuters reported, citing Jewish traffic to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem as another cause of Palestinian unrest.

The al-Aqsa mosque inside the walled Old City of Jerusalem is a point of contention because it is a holy Muslim site where Jews are allowed access but where non-Muslim prayers are not allowed.

OFFICIAL RESPONSE

A wave of insecurity has passed through Jerusalem as Palestinians worry about being viewed as terrorists and both Palestinians and Israelis are concerned with becoming victims in the random attacks.

Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement, according to NBC, "To our shock and horror, the cruelty of murderers who attack innocent civilians and children on their way home from school knows no limit, confronting us all with a shocking form of evil."

Asking the public to remain vigilant, Barkat said, "We must act swiftly and decisively."

Public gathering places like shopping centers, transit waiting areas, and restaurants are emptier this week.

Some parents have kept their children home from school or checked in with them at school hourly.

After Barkat called for Palestinian neighborhoods to be sealed, Netanyahu agreed that "aggressive steps" were called for, but did not offer any specific details, according to the Guardian.

At a special session of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on Tuesday evening, Netanyahu was clear that Israeli police and official forces would respond harshly to violence.

"Israel will settle scores with those who are killing and those who are encouraging them," he said. "Anyone who raises their hand against us will have their hand cut off."