Three Palestinians and a Bedouin have been stabbed in the southern Israeli city of Dimona by a Jewish Israeli attacker, writes Jack Mendel
The three Palestinians were construction workers, and the Bedouin was a municipal worker. Of the victims, two were moderately wounded, while the other two suffered light wounds, according to Haaretz.
One of the Palestinian victims, a 35-year-old man received deeper wounds than the other 2 men in their 50s, whilst the Bedouin man was stabbed in the street, before the ‘large Israeli man’ escaped.
The assailant, a 24-year-old resident of the city was detained by police, according to Times of Israel.
On Thursday, at least ten Israelis suffered injuries in stabbing attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the West Bank – with one attacker shot dead by IDF troops.
This week has seen Israel in a state of lockdown this week after four Israeli Jews were killed and several others injured by Palestinian suspects – with five Palestinians shot and killed in response.
- Ten Israelis injured in spate of stabbing attacks
- Nine killed in one week as violence erupts on both sides in Israel
As part of a concerted effort to head off escalating tensions – which some people say could represent the start of a third Intifada – prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday pledged to act “with a very harsh hand against terror”. Blaming the violence on “Palestinian incitement”, Bibi added: “We will not give any rioter or any inciter or immunity in any place, and so there are no limitations of the actions of the defence forces.”
The wave of violence prompted the Israeli prime minister to bar cabinet ministers and politicians from a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City that is at the heart of the latest tensions. It was the latest violence in a week in which bloody attacks left four Israelis dead. Including Thursday’s incident, six Palestinians have been killed in the unrest.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s move to try to calm the situation appeared to put the Israeli leader on a collision course with hardliners within his own governing coalition. They have been putting intense pressure on Mr Netanyahu to respond to the surge in violence with a tough crackdown and increased settlement activity.
But Mr Netanyahu is also wary of angering the American administration and risking another fully fledged uprising with too tough a response that could lead to a higher number of casualties on both sides. The Jerusalem hilltop compound lies at the heart of recent tensions.
It is revered by Muslims as the spot where Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven and by Jews as the site of the two Jewish biblical temples. Many Palestinians believe Israel is trying to expand Jewish presence at the site, a claimIsrael adamantly denies and considers slanderous. Under a longstanding arrangement administered by Islamic authorities, Jews are allowed to visit the site during certain hours but not pray there.
The latest Israeli-Palestinian unrest began about three weeks ago as Palestinians repeatedly barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa mosque, located at the sacred site, and hurled stones, firebombs and fireworks at the police.
The violence later spread to Arab neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem and to the West Bank, and on Tuesday there were disturbances in Jaffa, a largely Arab area of Tel Aviv.
Even with Thursday’s stabbing attacks, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said he would not allow his people to be “dragged” into more violence with Israel. Speaking to business leaders in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he said he was committed to “peaceful popular resistance” though he backs the protesters who have barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa and clashed with Israeli police. He insisted the Palestinians are not interested in a further escalation but that his “hands are with those who are protecting Al-Aqsa mosque”.
Along with the four Israelis killed in stabbings by Palestinian attackers and a roadside shooting in the last week, six Palestinians, including four of the attackers, have also been killed. On Wednesday, new stabbings occurred outside a crowded shopping centre in central Israel, in a southern Israeli town and in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel has beefed up security in response to the violence in Jerusalem, and on Thursday police set up metal detectors at the entrance to Israel’s Old City as a measure to prevent attacks.