MIDEST ISRAEL GAZA

Palestinians

The level of violence in Israel showed no sign of abating this week, after several deadly days in which both Jews and Palestinians were involved in assaults.

On Sunday, two men were shot and killed outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City after opening fire on Israeli security personnel, who escaped without injury.

A police statement later said that when one was ordered to drop a bag, he pulled out a weapon and took aim but was shot dead before he could pull the trigger. A second gunman then opened fire but was killed. Police described their guns as “improvised automatic weapons”.

Earlier this month, an Israeli border police officer was killed in a similar attack at the same site, during which three Palestinians were shot dead in response.

Also on Sunday, two 15-year-olds attacked an Israeli patrol near Jenin, a city in the West Bank. An army report said the boys at first threw rocks, then fired on soldiers with a rifle. “The force responded to the shooting and fired towards the attackers, resulting in their deaths,” it said. Crowds gathered as their bodies were carried through the village of Araka by mourners.

Hours later, Israeli authorities say a 17-year old Palestinian male tried to stab an Israeli border police officer between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, but was shot dead before he could cause injury.

Elsewhere in the West Bank on Sunday, Israeli police said a 20-year old Palestinian woman drew a knife and tried to stab an Israeli policeman but was shot in the attempt. That incident occurred in Hebron, close to the shared religious site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque.

A day earlier, on Saturday morning, a 20-year-old Jewish resident of Jerusalem was arrested for attacking an Arab taxi driver. He was one of three Jewish assailants. The other two fled the scene. A judge determined that the man could not be held on account of lack of evidence.

The attacks and assaults are the latest examples in a wave of knife, gun and car-ramming assaults by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank which has engulfed the country since late-September, and which has increased ethnic tensions across the country.