Man moderately hurt in Jerusalem stabbing
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Man moderately hurt in Jerusalem stabbing

Police hunt for assailant after attack in Old City breaks weeks of relative calm

Israeli border policemen stand guard outside at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, late on May 2, 2016, following a stabbing attack. (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)
Israeli border policemen stand guard outside at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, late on May 2, 2016, following a stabbing attack. (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)

An Israeli man was stabbed and moderately injured in an attack in Jerusalem’s Old City Monday evening, breaking weeks of relative calm after months of roiling violence in the capital.

Police said they were engaged in a large manhunt for the assailant after the attack in the heart of Jerusalem’s ancient quarter.

According to officials, the victim said he was stabbed in the back on al-Khaldaya Street in the center of Old City and reached the Austrian Hospice hotel some 300 meters away, where he reported he’d been stabbed and asked for help.

The stabbing victim, said to be in his 60s, was transferred to a local hospital for treatment. Hospital officials described him as stable and conscious.

United Hatzalah medic Haim Attas one of the first responders on the scene, said the man was a student at the Shuvu Banim yeshiva in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

“When I arrived on the scene he was fully conscious, he even ran towards nearby police officers so that they could call for medical help. After providing first aid treatment the wounded man was taken to hospital by emergency ambulance,” he said in an emailed statement.

Police deployed a large number of forces to locate the assailant, who fled the scene after the attack, police spokesperson Luba Samri said.

Palestinians wait outside Herod's Gate as security forces shut down the Old City of Jerusalem while searching for a suspect after a stabbing attack, on May 2, 2016. A Jewish man was stabbed and severely wounded (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Palestinians wait outside Herod’s Gate as security forces shut down the Old City of Jerusalem while searching for a suspect after a stabbing attack, on May 2, 2016. A Jewish man was stabbed and severely wounded (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

She added that police had found a knife at the scene.

“At this stage, there is growing suspicion that this was a nationalistic attack,” she said in a statement.

Earlier unconfirmed reports indicated the attacker had been apprehended.

The attack came weeks after Israeli officials pointed to a marked decrease in Palestinian stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks in and around Jerusalem, following six months of near-daily assaults which had wracked Israel and the West Bank.

Israel had increased security in and around the Old City, which had been a hotbed of attacks during the six months of violence. While many attacks were initially centered around the Lions’ Gate, the area later calmed after security was bolstered.

The calm had been earlier sundered by a bus bombing on April 18, in which a Palestinian resident of Bethlehem blew himself up, injuring 20 people and killing himself. Israel said the attacker was a Hamas member, but the terror group avoided claiming the attack.

Twenty-nine Israelis and four non-Israelis have been killed in the recent wave of terror attacks. Some 200 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

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