Palestinian tries to stab cops in Jerusalem Old City terror attack, is shot dead

Police say man running at them with knife was ‘neutralized’ by officers at the Lion’s Gate; woman lightly hurt, reportedly by ricochet from officers’ gunfire

Police at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City on February 22, 2019. (Israel Police)
Police at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City on February 22, 2019. (Israel Police)

A Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City tried to stab policemen on Saturday in an attempted terror attack before he was shot dead by officers.

Police said the assailant was spotted with a knife in his hand by Border Police officers at the Lion’s Gate as he ran to carry out an attack.

“[The officers] called on him to stop and he turned around toward them with the aim of harming them. The police responded quickly while firing toward him, neutralizing him and preventing harm,” a statement from police said. He died soon after, TV reports said.

The suspect was named by Channel 13 news as 33-year-old Maher Ibrahim Za’atara of East Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.

Video reportedly from the scene showed the assailant running with the knife before the attack, and, in a separate clip, lying on the ground as police secured the area around the Lion’s Gate.

Police said a female passerby was lightly hurt in the leg during the attack and taken to the hospital by the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

She was wounded in the leg by ricochet from a bulled fired by one of the police officers, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Following the incident, Jerusalem district police commander Doron Yadid visited the scene of the attack and held a situational assessment.

A knife used in an attempted stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on February 22, 2019. (Israel Police)

The incident comes a day after a Palestinian woman tried to stab passerby at a popular promenade in Jerusalem.

The woman, reported to be a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, tried to stab people at the Armon Hanatziv promenade several times with a knife, United Hatzalah said in a statement. One man suffered very mild injuries and did not require medical treatment.

The attempted stabbings took place amid concerns of increased violence in response to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan unveiled last month, which Palestinian leaders have roundly rejected.

Several weeks ago, officers arrested on the Temple Mount two East Jerusalem teenagers who were armed with a knife. According to police, they planned to use the knife to carry out a stabbing attack against one of the officers stationed at the site.

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