PM calls emergency meeting to consider anti-terror measures

Amid sharp spike in terror attacks Tuesday emanating from East Jerusalem, mayor calls for closure on city’s Arab neighborhoods

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at in Jerusalem, October 11, 2015. (Amit Shabi/Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at in Jerusalem, October 11, 2015. (Amit Shabi/Pool)

The security cabinet will convene at 3 p.m. at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem to discuss new security measures after a series of terror attacks left three people dead and several more injured Tuesday morning in a major escalation of ongoing violence.

Police officials will present an operational plan for curbing the sharp spike in terror attacks experienced by the capital in recent days, which may include a closure on some Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Speaking shortly after a pair of terrorists opened fire and hacked at passengers on a bus, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat demanded a complete closure on the West Bank and East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods, saying harsher measures were needed to battle a terror wave that has rocked the capital over the last month.

In a separate attack at the same time, a man ran his car into a bus stop in central Jerusalem and then attacked pedestrians, killing one and injuring another.

The twin attacks, which took place on a morning when two East Jerusalem men also knifed pedestrians in the central Israeli town of Ra’anana, marked an intensification of the ongoing terror wave, which until now has been mostly dominated by smaller stabbing attacks.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was also holding meetings Tuesday with security officials that will discuss closing off East Jerusalem neighborhoods and making it easier for Israeli citizens to obtain gun licenses.

Police interim commissioner Bentzi Sau said Tuesday morning that the two perpetrators of the shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in southern Jerusalem that killed two passengers and injured at least 15 were residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said after the attacks that the Palestinian Authority had lost its right to exist, adding that PA President Mahmoud Abbas bears responsibility for the ongoing terror.

She also called on the Israeli government to stop transferring money to the PA.

“The blood of Israeli citizens is on Abu Mazen’s hands, and of those of his men who incite children to go out and murder,” she said, using Abbas’ nom de guerre and referring to spokesperson Nabil Abu Roudeineh, who reportedly praised the 13-year-old Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli teenager yesterday on his bike.

“The Palestinian Authority has lost the right to exist. Instead of preventing violence, it is a hothouse for radical Islam that hurts Israelis on a daily basis,” she said.

Science Minister Ofir Akunis lambasted the international community for failing to condemn the current wave of terror.

Addressing an international space conference in Jerusalem, Akunis said that Israeli citizens are currently suffering “an attack unparalleled in violence and barbarism,” calling on participants to speak out against these acts.

“There is no excuse in the world to justify the murder of innocent children. The silence of the international community is regrettable and worrying. The fact there no one condemns the Palestinians spreading lies that increase murderous terror is a warning signal to the entire free world,” the minister said.

Tuesday afternoon’s cabinet meeting will include “top security officials,” the prime minister’s aides told The Times of Israel.

Later Tuesday, Netanyahu will meet with a senior visiting dignitary from Asia, officials say, declining to specify.

Netanyahu was scheduled to attend a commemoration event at Mount Herzl in honor of the late right-wing minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in 2001, but pulled out of the event in light of the security situation.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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