IDF troops boost security on Jerusalem buses, trains
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IDF troops boost security on Jerusalem buses, trains

Slew of measures announced by government yet to curb rash of stabbing attacks in Israel and the West Bank

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

With the Temple Mount in the background, Israeli soldiers are seen during preparation for a Memorial Day ceremony at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on April 21, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
With the Temple Mount in the background, Israeli soldiers are seen during preparation for a Memorial Day ceremony at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on April 21, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces was set to ramp up security on Jerusalem’s public transport Sunday. Soldiers were to be stationed at bus and light rail stops, as well as on buses and trains throughout the city.

Three hundred soldiers were set to fan out across the capital, adding to six IDF companies already mobilized there last week.

The move is part of a slew of measures passed by Israel’s security cabinet last Tuesday aiming to prevent further Palestinian attacks in the current wave of unrest.

In an effort to prevent attacks emanating from East Jerusalem, the cabinet also approved a partial lockdown on several Arab neighborhoods.

Other courses of action passed by the security cabinet included the demolition of terrorists’ homes within days of attacks and the banning of new construction, the confiscation of property belonging to terrorists who carry out attacks, and the revoking of permanent residency rights from their families.

Restrictions on gun licenses for Israelis have been eased to allow all IDF officers above the rank of lieutenant and non-commissioned officers from the rank of first sergeant and up to obtain a permit. Parallel ranks in the police and other security services may do the same.

The wave of Palestinian attacks showed no signs of abating over the weekend, with incidents reported throughout the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Palestinians threw several Molotov cocktails at an IDF patrol, along with an explosive device, Saturday night.

Saturday also saw five separate stabbing attempts in Hebron, Jerusalem and at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside the capital. In all cases the Palestinian attackers were killed by security forces as they carried out the attacks.

In Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, a Palestinian teenager was shot dead when he tried to stab Border Police officers. There were no reports of injuries among the security forces.

Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier and policewoman suffered light to moderate wounds in two Hebron attacks.

On Friday, a Palestinian man posing as a press photographer stabbed an Israeli soldier in the same area, moderately wounding him. The attacker was shot dead by security forces at the scene.

On Friday, Palestinian rioters set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in the Palestinian city of Nablus, seriously damaging the biblical pilgrimage site revered by Jews and Muslims and drawing wide condemnation.

The incidents were the latest in a spate of near-daily attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces across Israel and in the West Bank.

Since October 1, seven Israelis have been killed and dozens injured in 30 separate stabbing or attempted stabbing attacks by Palestinian assailants.

On the Palestinian side, 40 have been killed so far, including 18 attackers. The rest died in clashes with IDF troops either in the West Bank or along the Gaza border. Two of the casualties, a pregnant woman and her two-year-old daughter, were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on October 11, which came in response to an earlier rocket attack launched from Gaza at Israeli territory.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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