Jerusalem police to beef up security ahead of Passover
Day after stabbing in Old City, commander warns terrorists will likely seek to carry out attacks over Jewish holiday
Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.
A senior police officer said Sunday that security will be bolstered in Jerusalem ahead of the upcoming Passover festival as a precaution against possible terror attacks.
Speaking a day after a terrorist stabbed three people in Jerusalem’s Old City, Commander Doron Turgeman — who oversees security in the area — said terror groups seek to attack Israelis around the Jewish holidays.
“Holidays and festivals over the years have caused higher tensions and sensitivity and are a preferred period for attacks,” Turgeman told Army Radio. “Ahead of the festival there will be wider deployment based on assessments of the situation. We are here in order to enable the holiday to go ahead as usual.”
The weeklong Passover festival begins on April 10. Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit Jerusalem’s Old City during the holiday.
On Saturday afternoon, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed two young men and the police officer in the Old City, wounding them, before being shot and killed by security forces.
The two civilians injured in the attack were released from the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital after being treated in the emergency room overnight, a hospital spokesperson said on Sunday. The injured police officer was being treated in the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. All were said to suffer light-to-moderate wounds.
The attack took place on Haggai Street in the Muslim Quarter. It was the second stabbing attack in the Old City last week.
Palestinian media identified the assailant as 17-year-old Ahmad Jazal from the West Bank village of Sebastia, near Nablus. Overnight Saturday, security forces raided Jazal’s home.
Shortly before carrying out the attack Jazal photographed himself smiling outside the Temple Mount’s Dome of the Rock. The photos were shared by Palestinians on social media, with some praising the “martyr” for his actions.
Last Wednesday, Border Police shot and killed a woman as she attempted to stab them with scissors outside Damascus Gate. The Palestinian Health Ministry later identified the assailant as Siham Rateb Nimir, 49, from East Jerusalem.
According to Palestinian media, her son was Mustafa Nimir, who was shot dead by Border Police officers in September after an apparent misunderstanding at an East Jerusalem checkpoint.
In the past year and a half the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in one case a Jordanian national.
Agencies and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.