JERUSALEM (AP) — Two Palestinian assailants on Wednesday carried out a stabbing attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City, killing one Israeli, before they were shot and killed, Israeli police said. A second Israeli died after apparently being shot mistakenly by police in the confusion.
The attack was the latest in a continuing wave of violence that has gripped the region for more than three months.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the attack happened outside the city’s Jaffa Gate, a popular spot for tourists visiting the Old City, home to Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy sites. She said police shot both assailants, who were later identified as Palestinians in their early 20s from the West Bank. One died at the scene and the second later in a hospital.
Three people were seriously wounded in the attack, two of whom later died. A 45-year-old Israel man died from multiple stab wounds, while a 40-year-old man died from gunshot wounds, hospital officials said. Samri had said earlier that one of the wounded may have been shot by police officers who were firing at the Palestinian assailants.
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Since mid-September, near-daily Palestinian stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks have killed 20 Israelis and an American student. At least 120 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire in the same period, including 82 said by Israel to be attackers. The rest have been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Israel says the violence is a result of a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli military rule.
The Palestinians have pointed to a deadly arson attack, believed to have been carried out by Jewish extremists in the West Bank last summer, as a key source of frustration. The firebombing killed a Palestinian couple and their 18-month-old son. Israel has not yet pressed charges in the attack, though it is holding three suspects.
On Wednesday night, Israel’s Channel 10 TV broadcast footage of what it said was a wedding attended by Jewish extremists last week, where revelers stabbed pictures of the dead toddler, danced with rifles belonging to the Israeli military and in one case, held a mock firebomb in the air. It said the people were friends of the suspects in the arson.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the video “horrifying,” saying it showed “the real face of a group that represents a danger to Israeli society and Israeli security.” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said police were investigating the video.
Also Wednesday, the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence agency said it had uncovered “a wide terrorist infrastructure” of the militant Islamic group Hamas in the West Bank and Israel, directed from Gaza.
The agency said it arrested 25 suspected Hamas members who operated in the area of Abu Dis east of Jerusalem and in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. Shin Bet said the militants operated an explosives laboratory in Abu Dis, and planned to carry out suicide bombings in Israel.
Shin Bet said the arrests were made in recent weeks. There was no immediate comment from Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.