A female Border Police officer died of her wounds late Friday, soon after she was critically injured in a coordinated stabbing and shooting terror attack in two areas near Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday evening.
She was identified as Hadas Malka, 23.
Malka was stabbed in the upper torso by a Palestinian assailant on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate while responding to gunfire nearby which later turned out to be the site of the first part of the attack.
She was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem where she underwent emergency surgery and later succumbed to her injuries.
Her attacker was shot and killed.
Malka was part of a group of Border Police officers making their way to Zedekiah’s Cave in the Muslim Quarter where two Palestinian attackers, one of them armed with a knife and another with a homemade Carlo-style submachine gun, attacked a separate group of Border Police officers. The two were shot and killed. Authorities said the firearm held by the attacker jammed, averting a possibly much deadlier attack.
Malka was attacked by a third assailant while en route to the scene and stabbed repeatedly before her attacker too was shot and killed.
At least four more people were injured in the attacks, including another cop. They all sustained light to moderate wounds and were being treated in hospital.
BREAKING: Multiple border police wounded, at least 1 critically after coordinated terror attack by 3 Arabs in Jerusalem. All neutralized. pic.twitter.com/5NpLfM5Hv6
— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) June 16, 2017
The attacks took place as Muslims were marking the end of the third Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, during which tens of thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank attended prayers at the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site.
The Shin Bet security service named the three assailants as Adel Ankush, 18, from the West Bank village of Deir Abu-Mash’al near Ramallah, Bra’a Saleh Atta, 19, from the same village, and Usama Ahmed, 19, from the nearby village of Tsatfa Ata.
All three had previously been arrested for terror-related activities.
An earlier report, citing Palestinian media, mistakenly identified the third attacker as Amar Bedui, 31, from Hebron.
Hamas dismissed a claim of responsibility for the attack by Islamic State, and said all three assailants were members of Palestinian terrorist organizations. The attack was carried out by “two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas,” Hamas said early Saturday.
Security forces were preparing to raid the homes of the attackers late Friday, the Hebrew-language website Ynet reported. The raids were intended to reveal if the attackers’ family members knew of their intentions to carry out the attack and to determine where the firearm was acquired.
Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy said in a briefing with reporters that police suspect the three Palestinian assailants arrived from the West Bank earlier in the day for Ramadam prayers and suggested that one or more of them did not have permits to cross into Israel.
“During Ramadan there are large numbers of (Palestinian) youths who enter without permits. They take advantage of Ramadan to be in Jerusalem,” he told media at the scene of the attack, adding that in some cases “this is what we get,” in reference to the coordinated attack.
Israel last month announced that it was relaxing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, including easier access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, issuing more travel permits and allowing some to travel abroad. The measures were similar to those of previous years.
Over the past 18 months the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in two cases by Jordanian nationals.
The Hamas terror group said in a statement Friday evening that “the attack in Jerusalem is new proof that the Palestinian people continue their revolution against the occupiers and that the intifada will continue until complete freedom is achieved.”
AFP contributed to this report.