Two Palestinian assailants shot dead in attempted stabbings in Jerusalem and West Bank

Israeli security forces thwarted two separate stabbing attacks by Palestinian suspects in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Sunday, killing both assailants and injuring one civilian.

The first attack took place in Jerusalem’s Old City, near the Lions’ Gate, around 12:30 p.m. A Palestinian man armed with a knife tried to stab police officers who were patrolling the area, but was shot and “neutralized” by the security forces, according to a police statement.

A man who was passing by the scene was lightly wounded in the leg by shrapnel from the gunfire. He was treated by paramedics from Magen David Adom, the Israeli emergency service, and taken to a nearby hospital.

The police said they found a second knife on the body of the attacker, who was not immediately identified. The area was cordoned off and an investigation was launched into the incident.

West Bank attack

The second attack occurred less than an hour later, near the West Bank village of Husan, southwest of Jerusalem. A Palestinian man approached Israeli soldiers who were patrolling a highway next to the village, and attempted to stab them with a knife, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The soldiers responded by opening fire at the assailant, who was killed on the spot. No soldiers were injured in the incident.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry confirmed the death of the attacker, and identified him as Rami Rashid Al-Batha, 35, from the nearby town of Beit Fajjar.

Background and reactions

The attacks came amid heightened tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, following the war between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip in May 2023. The war erupted after Hamas launched a series of deadly attacks on southern Israel on October 7, 2023, killing 12 Israelis and injuring dozens more.

Since then, Israeli forces have arrested more than 3,000 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, including over 1,300 affiliated with Hamas. The Palestinian Authority health ministry said that more than 300 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank during the same period.

Israel says its offensive in Gaza was aimed at destroying Hamas’s military and governance capabilities, and preventing further attacks on its territory. It says it tried to minimize civilian casualties, while targeting Hamas’s infrastructure, operatives, and weapons.

The international community has called for an end to the violence and a resumption of the peace talks based on the two-state solution, which envisions an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned the stabbing attacks, and praised the security forces for their swift and decisive response. He said that Israel would not tolerate any attempts to harm its citizens or soldiers, and that it would continue to fight against terrorism and incitement.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attacks, and accused Israel of provoking the Palestinians with its policies and actions in the occupied territories. He said that Israel was responsible for the escalation of the situation, and that it should end its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

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