Troops descend on attacker’s home after officers stabbed
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Troops descend on attacker’s home after officers stabbed

Four arrests reported after East Jerusalem resident moderately injures two border guards outside Old City, is killed, in early morning attack

Police raid the home of an East Jerusalem assailant who stabbed two police officers on March 13, 2017. (Screen capture/Israel Police)
Police raid the home of an East Jerusalem assailant who stabbed two police officers on March 13, 2017. (Screen capture/Israel Police)

Police raided the East Jerusalem home of a suspected Palestinian assailant on Monday morning, hours after he stabbed two border guards in an attack outside the capital’s Old City. The attacker was shot by the guards and later died.

After the attack, police entered the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, home of Muhammad Ibrahim Mattar, named in Arab media as the assailant. Four family members were arrested, including at least one of Mattar’s brothers and his parents, police said.

Evidence was also collected from the family home, including a flag with the logo of the Hamas terrorist group, police said.

Mattar, 25, stabbed two officer with a large butcher’s knife at the Lion’s Gate entrance to the Old City before dawn on Monday morning, moderately injuring them, according to police.

A Hamas flag and other pieces of evidence are collected by police officers from the home of an East Jerusalem assailant who stabbed two police officers on March 13, 2017. (Screen capture/Israel Police)
A Hamas flag and other pieces of evidence are collected by police officers from the home of an East Jerusalem assailant who stabbed two police officers on March 13, 2017. (Screen capture/Israel Police)

The assailant was shot and critically wounded during the attack. He later died of his injuries.

The officers were taken by paramedics to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in the city for treatment. They were stable and fully conscious when they arrived, a hospital spokesperson said.

Pictures posted on social media showed large numbers of police officers in the neighborhood, as well as the four residents being taken away by officers.

The Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, southeast of the Old City, has been home to several terrorists, including a man who drove a truck into a group of soldiers in January, killing 4.

The attack came as extra police were deployed around Jerusalem for the holiday of Purim, celebrated in the capital a day later than most other places.

“General security measures continue in Jerusalem as the Purim festival is being celebrated today,” a police spokesperson said.

A large knife used in an attack on two Border Police officers, who were moderately wounded, in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 13, 2017. (Israel Police)
A large knife used in an attack on two Border Police officers, who were moderately wounded, in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 13, 2017. (Israel Police)

Police credited this “increased deployment” with “bringing this incident to an end in a short amount of time.”

A closure was also placed on the West Bank and Gaza for the holiday, a standard procedure during Jewish holidays.

The Old City has been the site of numerous stabbing attacks and attempted stabbing attacks since the start of a Palestinian wave of violence in October 2015.

Though a marked drop has been recorded by security officials in recent months, 40 Israelis, two Americans, a Palestinian and an Eritrean national have been killed in the spate of stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks that began a year and a half ago.

Police and medical professionals arrive to the scene of a stabbing attack in which two Border Police officers were moderately wounded, in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 13, 2017. (Magen David Adom)
Police and medical professionals arrive to the scene of a stabbing attack in which two Border Police officers were moderately wounded, in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 13, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

According to AFP figures, some 250 Palestinians, a Jordanian and a Sudanese migrant have also been killed, most of them in the course of carrying out attacks, Israel says, and many of the others in clashes with troops in the West Bank and at the Gaza border, as well as in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks.

The spate of Palestinian attacks that began in October 2015 was dubbed the “lone wolf” intifada, as many of the attacks were carried out by individuals who were not connected to any terror group.

The attacks were at first attributed to tensions over Palestinian fears that Israel was seeking to change the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a charge Israel has repeatedly and vehemently denied. Palestinian leaders have argued that the primary cause for attacks during this period was despair caused by Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank.

The Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, continues to refer to each attack as a part of a “Jerusalem Intifada.”

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