Palestinian attacker tries to stab ultra-Orthodox man but misses, police clip shows

In security footage, female assailant seen attempting to target Haredi passerby before stabbing another man, said to be Arab East Jerusalemite

Police officers are at the scene of a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City on August 12, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Police officers are at the scene of a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City on August 12, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A female Palestinian assailant who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday had attempted to stab an ultra-Orthodox man before stabbing another person, said to be an Arab East Jerusalem resident, injuring him lightly, according to security footage released by police.

In the clip, the attacker, a 29-year-old mother of five from East Jerusalem, can be seen crossing a street before pulling out a knife and taking a few swipes at the ultra-Orthodox man, who dodges the weapon and manages to get away. The footage does not show the stabbing of the victim, who according to some reports in the Hebrew-language media was a resident of East Jerusalem wearing a shirt with Hebrew writing, whom she mistook for a Jew.

The man, who was lightly wounded in the arm as a result of the attack, was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus for treatment before being released.

Police said the attacker was overpowered and arrested by police officers at the scene after stabbing the man. She was then taken for questioning.

The attack occurred on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate, the same street where Border Police officer Hadas Malka was stabbed to death in June.

Hebrew-language media reported that the woman’s husband was arrested following the attack and that police raided the couple’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher.

Over the past two years, the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in two cases by Jordanian nationals.

Since September 2015, mainly Palestinian assailants have killed 48 Israelis, two visiting Americans, a Palestinian man and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 259 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.

Israeli security officials believe that aside from the ostensible ideological motive, many of these attacks — particularly those carried out by women or young girls — are a form of “suicide by cop,” or “suicide by soldier.”

However, tensions in Jerusalem have risen dramatically in recent weeks following the July 14 killing of two Israeli police officers by three Arab Israelis who smuggled guns into the flashpoint Temple Mount compound.

Israel shut the compound for two days for security reasons while police investigated the incident. Israel then reopened the site with newly installed metal detectors and cameras — security measures that led to two weeks of protests by Palestinians. The measures were eventually removed. Five Palestinians were killed in near-daily demonstrations.

Also during that time, a Palestinian terrorist claiming to be motivated by the Temple Mount protests stabbed to death three Israelis in their home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish.

The fate of the Temple Mount is an emotional issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the smallest perceived change to delicate arrangements pertaining to the site sparks tensions.

Jews revere the hilltop compound as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. It is the holiest site in Judaism, and the nearby Western Wall, a remnant of one of the temples, is the holiest place where Jews can pray.

The walled compound is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe the site marks the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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