Israeli moderately injured in stabbing attack near Hebron; suspect arrested

Incident comes hours after woman in her 50s brandished weapon at security forces near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate

Scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba, January 18, 2020 (Magen David Adom)
Scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba, January 18, 2020 (Magen David Adom)

A Israeli was moderately injured in a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, close to the city of Hebron, on Saturday afternoon.

The victim, a 22-year-old man, received medical treatment on the scene for a stab injury to his shoulder and was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, the Magen David Adom emergency services said in a statement. The hospital later said the injured man was in stable condition.

The suspect, said to be a Palestinian youth, was arrested as he tried to flee and taken for questioning, the Israeli military said in a statement.

A civilian at the scene helped IDF soldiers apprehend the attacker, the military added.

IDF forces on the scene of a stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on January 18, 2020. (IDF Spokesperson’s Office)

The incident in Kiryat Arba came just hours after a woman was arrested after she threatened Border Police officers with a knife at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Police said the woman in her 50s approached the officers and waved a knife in their direction.

An officer was lightly injured after slipping and falling while trying to arrest the woman.

The woman was taken for questioning by the security forces after she was subdued by officers and a nearby civilian.

Both incidents came amid heightened tensions after hundreds of Muslims chanted about killing Jews outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday morning, prompting police to disperse the crowd.

The chants began as worshipers were leaving the mosque following prayers, Israel’s Channel 13 reported.

No one was injured in clashes with police, who broke up the impromptu march where the chants occurred. In footage from the march, many men can be heard shouting in Arabic, “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”

The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

They also shouted: “With spirit and blood, we will salvage Al-Aqsa” and “Jews, the army of Al-Aqsa is returning.”

Authorities said officers broke up a procession that included what they called “nationalistic” chants at the holy site, after some 8,000 people concluded morning prayers.

The Hamas terror group had on Wednesday called for Palestinians to “mobilize” during Friday’s prayers against the “defilement” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs by “the Zionist occupation.” The terror group said Israeli authorities must be warned that “our sanctities are a red line that cannot be tolerated.”

On Friday it welcomed the unrest at the compound, with a spokesman saying the morning prayers “support our people in their campaign against the Zionist occupation and thwart its racist plans.”

Israeli security forces walk past the Dome of the Rock shrine, as they arrive at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019, after clashes broke out during the overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and Tisha B’Av. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The site is the holiest in Judaism as the site of the biblical Temples, and the third holiest for Muslims, who refer to it as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or the Noble Sanctuary.

It has been the scene of intermittent clashes between Muslim worshipers and police.

Under the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries, Israel recognizes Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem holy sites.

Some Jewish activists have pushed for Israel to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount as part of the country’s commitment to freedom of religion.

But any talk or even rumors of changes to the status quo arrangement at the holy site are typically met with vociferous protest from the Muslim world, which has accused Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the site or expand access for Jewish pilgrims.

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