Cops close East Jerusalem streets, sites after stabbing attack
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Police: 'This is not a punitive measure, but rather a purely professional one'

Cops close East Jerusalem streets, sites after stabbing attack

Shops shuttered along Sultan Suleiman Street, other nearby locales as police investigate assault on two officers earlier in the day

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli police stand guard on Sultan Suleiman Street near the Herod's Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, where an East Jerusalem man stabbed and wounded two Israeli police officers on September 19, 2016. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
Israeli police stand guard on Sultan Suleiman Street near the Herod's Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, where an East Jerusalem man stabbed and wounded two Israeli police officers on September 19, 2016. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Jerusalem police shuttered the shops along a major East Jerusalem street on Monday following a stabbing attack nearby that left two officers in the hospital, one in serious condition, police said.

“The shops along Sultan Suleiman Street have been closed, and that is under the framework of an investigation into the circumstances of the incident,” police said in a statement.

In addition, some stores on nearby Salah ad-Din Street and inside the Damascus Gate were also closed after the attack, according to Palestinian media reports.

Just after 7:30 a.m., 20-year-old Ayman Kurd came up behind two police officers and stabbed them both repeatedly, seriously injuring a female officer and moderately wounding a male officer, according to police.

Kurd, a resident of East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, was shot and critically wounded in the attack, police said.

In light of the incident, police closed off the nearby Sultan Suleiman Street, which is located just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, “until further notice,” according to a police spokesperson.

The police official was quick to note that this was “not a punitive measure, but rather a purely professional one.”

Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevy and his command were expected to reassess the issue later in the day, the police spokesperson said.

Local Palestinian news outlets posted photographs of the deserted streets and closed-up shops on social media.

This was the second stabbing incident near the Old City of Jerusalem since Friday, as a fresh wave of attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians persisted for the fourth straight day.

In Friday’s attack, a Jordanian national attempted to stab a group of birder guards stationed at the Damascus Gate, before he was shot and killed by the officers.

Israeli security forces have “boosted their forces” ahead of the upcoming holidays and in light of the uptick in violence against police officers, soldiers and civilians in recent days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.

“The security forces are on heightened alert and I will meet with them today in order to ensure that we will be ready to defend our people during this sensitive period,” he said.

Six attacks over the weekend — four stabbings, a car ramming and a rock throwing — caught many Israelis by surprise, as the violence that marked 2015 and early 2016 appeared to have waned in recent months, and raised fears that regular attacks could return.

“[The Eid al-Adha holiday] and September are always more susceptible to spikes in violent Palestinian activities,” a military official, speaking anonymously, said Saturday.

“The motivation and inspiration to carry out attacks against Israelis remains strong,” the official said.

In the past year, Israel saw a wave of so-called “lone-wolf” Palestinian terror attacks, which have claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since October 2015. Over 200 Palestinians have also been killed in the past year, with the Israeli army and police saying that most of those killed were attackers or involved in clashes with security forces.

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