Police say they thwarted Temple Mount stabbing attack
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Police say they thwarted Temple Mount stabbing attack

Nablus resident caught with knife in Old City, tells security forces he wanted to be 'a martyr'; Palestinian said critically wounded by IDF during West Bank riot

Israeli police officers guard an entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City during the Jewish holiday of Passover, on April 24, 2016. (Corinna Kern/Flash90)
Israeli police officers guard an entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City during the Jewish holiday of Passover, on April 24, 2016. (Corinna Kern/Flash90)

A 25-year-old Palestinian was caught in Jerusalem’s Old City Saturday evening with a knife concealed in his clothes, and security forces said he had intended to carry out an attack in the Temple Mount area.

The man, a resident of Nablus, told police who questioned him that he wanted to be “a martyr,” according to initial reports.

He was taken in for further questioning.

Meanwhile, 15 Palestinians were reportedly injured in clashes with Israeli security forces in the Jalazoun refugee camp northeast of the West Bank city of Ramallah Saturday evening.

Reports in Palestinian media said one of the wounded protesters was in critical condition after being shot in the head. The Palestinian Ma’an news agency identified him as 16-year-old Fares Ziad Atallah.

Clashes broke out near the entrance to the camp during a march commemorating the anniversary of the death of a 13-year-old who was shot dead by Israeli security forces in riots last year. According to Ma’an, Palestinian youths lobbed bottles and Molotov cocktails at security forces who attempted to break up the violent demonstration.

There was no immediate comment from the IDF.

Earlier on Saturday, a Palestinian man armed with a knife stabbed and lightly wounded a Border Police officer in a settlement north of Jerusalem.

The attack took place as police were opening an access road running along the security fence between Israel and the West Bank, close to Har Adar — about 6 miles (10 km) from Jerusalem.

The policeman was given emergency treatment at the scene and then taken to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, where he was treated for minor injuries. He was released from hospital several hours later.

The stabbing comes less than a week after two Israelis were killed in a terrorist attack in the Ammunition Hill area of Jerusalem.

Last Sunday, Mesbah Abu Sabih, a 39-year-old resident of Silwan in East Jerusalem, drove to the local light rail station and opened fire on a group of civilians, hitting one person. The terrorist sped off toward Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau Street, where he shot 60-year-old Levana Malihi in her car, fatally wounding her.

The gunman then shot and wounded two officers from the Israel Police’s Special Patrol Unit. One of the two, First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, later succumbed to his injuries. The other officer was moderately wounded.

Five people in total were injured in the attack, which lasted approximately four minutes. The terrorist was shot and killed by security forces.

Sunday’s attack broke a spell of calm in the capital that followed a months-long wave of violence last autumn and winter that included several attacks near Ammunition Hill.

Officials had feared a return to stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks with the onset of the fall holiday season, when religious tensions often spike.

October 2015 marked the start of several months of near-daily attacks during which at least 34 Israelis and over 200 Palestinians were killed in a spate of attacks. Most of the Palestinians killed were attackers or involved in clashes with troops.

The Israeli army said Saturday it would be closing off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 48 hours beginning at 11:59 p.m. Saturday for the upcoming Sukkot holiday.

The army routinely seals off the West Bank on Jewish holidays, citing increased fears of attacks.

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