2 injured in Jerusalem attack, hours after shooting nearby
The violence continued in Jerusalem on Saturday when an assailant shot and wounded two Israelis near an East Jerusalem settlement, the morning after a Palestinian assailant killed seven people outside a synagogue elsewhere in the city.
The two victims on Saturday were taken to hospital and were described by doctors as being in serious but not critical condition. And the attacker – a 13-year-old boy – was shot and injured by two bystanders, according to a police statement.
The attack underscored the fragility of the situation in Israel and the occupied territories, which has left at least 20 Israelis and Palestinians dead in less than a week and has many people on both sides of the conflict fearing a possible larger conflagration.
The combination of several overlapping dynamics – a new far-right Israeli government that has promised to take a tougher stance against the Palestinians; the rising anger and militancy of a new generation of Palestinians; an escalation of the Israeli military campaign in Palestinian areas; and the decision by Palestinian leaders this week to sever security coordination with their Israeli counterparts – threatens to accelerate a cycle of violence and undermine efforts to ease tensions.
Saturday morning’s attack occurred in a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem, a few hundred meters south of some of the Old City’s holiest sites.
The area was captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967 and later annexed, and is still considered occupied territory by most of the world. Tensions have risen in the neighborhood in recent decades after Israeli settlers began moving there in greater numbers and demanding the eviction of Palestinian residents.
Elsewhere in East Jerusalem on Saturday, police said they arrested 42 people linked to the Palestinian attacker in Friday night’s attack outside a synagogue in an Israeli settlement.
Police also said they had stepped up their presence on the streets of Jerusalem after last week’s attacks, while Israel’s Defense Ministry said it was stepping up efforts to protect Israeli settlements and roads in the West Bank.
The Israel Prison Service said it placed dozens of Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement after celebrating the attack outside the synagogue.
The situation in Israel and the occupied territories was already tense before the current government took office in late December, in the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005.
But tensions escalated further throughout January, with more than 30 Palestinians killed that month, mostly during Israeli operations to arrest Palestinian militants.
Nine Palestinians were killed in a raid on Thursday, the deadliest such incident in at least half a decade, leading the Palestinian Authority, the body that administers parts of the occupied West Bank to Israel, to announce that it was suspending its coordination with Israeli security. services in protest.
If fully adopted, the move would end most contact between Israeli and Palestinian intelligence and military services, making it easier for Palestinian armed groups and violent Israeli settlers to operate unimpeded.
Carol Sutherland contributed reporting for Moshav Ben Ami, Israel.