A Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday evening, and was shot dead by Israeli police, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
An Israeli police statement reported “an attempted stabbing attack” near Damascus Gate, saying “a police unit at the spot neutralized the suspect,” with the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry saying it was informed of the death of a civilian by gunshots.
According to police, the attacker ran at a Jewish man and knocked him over onto the ground; he then “continued running toward the police officers while waving a sharp object and trying to harm them.”
The assailant was a 26-year-old from the Qalandiya refugee camp outside Jerusalem, who was in Israel illegally, according to the Haaretz website.
On the eve of Jewish fast Yom kipper police units responded to stabbing attack by Palestinian terrorist. A rapid response prevented injuries pic.twitter.com/HpJb05cqRp
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) September 19, 2018
Police did not say if anyone else was harmed in the incident. It occurred just after sunset on Tuesday, as Jews began observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
“The widespread deployment of police in Jerusalem and their alertness prevented an attack that could have ended with harsh results,” police said.
On Sunday an Israeli man, Ari Fuld, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank in a stabbing attack.
Security camera footage of the shopping mall at the Gush Etzion Junction released on Monday showed Fuld, fatally wounded and with blood pouring down his back, chasing and shooting his attacker 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin. Jabarin was chasing after his next target, Hila Peretz, a woman who worked in a local falafel store, when Fuld and another Israeli civilian opened fire, preventing the continuation of the attack and moderately injuring the terrorist.
Fuld, a resident of the nearby Efrat settlement and father of four, was rushed to a Jerusalem hospital, but was declared dead shortly after.
Earlier Tuesday Police arrested five Muslim activists on the Temple Mount and accused them of trying to obstruct a group of Jewish visitors touring the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.
Tensions are often increased around Jewish holidays, which often see an uptick in the number of Jewish visitors to the site.
According to the police and video from the scene, the five suspects belong to the Al-Aqsa Youth organization and had blocked a group of Jewish religious visitors.
“Police asked them several times not to disturb the public order and not to interfere with the proper functioning of the visits, but they did not respond,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.
Video from the incident released by the left-wing Ir Amim organization showed police scuffling with a group of Muslims on the compound, which houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is known as the Haram al-Sharif in Arabic.
According to Ir Amim, police had tried to move two people who work for the Waqf Islamic endowment, which administers the site, from a path where the Jewish visitors had been walking.
A Waqf spokesperson said four people were injured in the fighting.
The spokesperson accused the police of “assaulting …Waqf officials, mosque guards and worshipers,” the official Palestinian Authority news outlet Wafa reported.
According to the prevailing status quo at the site, Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there. Visits by religious Jews are closely guarded by a police escort and Waqf representatives generally also follow the groups closely.
Police said earlier in the week that they would beef up their presence in the Old City for Yom Kippur and the Muslim holy day of Ashura, which falls the next day.