An alleged Palestinian attacker who stabbed two Israelis was killed by security forces on Friday, as 16-year-old was shot near the West Bank separation barrier, trying to climb over.
The outbreak of violence came as tens of thousands of worshippers were flocking to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque for noon prayers on the last Friday in the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Police shot 16-year-old Abdullah Ghaith near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, adding that another Palestinian aged 21 was wounded by a bullet in the stomach.
Israeli police said the teenager was shot while attempting to climb over the heavily guarded separation barrier from Bethlehem into Jerusalem. The police added that they were launching a probe into the incident.
The boy’s father, Louai Ghaith, said his son had been trying to enter Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the holy day. Abdullah’s body was taken to a Bethlehem hospital, where his family identified the body.
“He was going to fulfil his religious duty, he was going to worship,” Mr Ghaith said. “They killed him… with a bullet to his heart, like a game, and 16 years I’ve been raising him.”
Israeli police said they shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian suspected of carrying out two stabbings near Damascus Gate, a bustling main entrance to the predominantly Palestinian part of the Old City.
Police said one Israeli was in critical condition, while the second was in moderate condition. The suspect, police added, was shot by security forces while running through the Old City’s Muslim quarter.
The stabbings occurred hours before busloads of Muslim worshippers were to arrive fromIsrael and the West Bank for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City.
In other countries across the Middle East, rallies are set to take place to mark Quds, or Jerusalem Day, an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan. This year’s protests come as the Trump administration is pushing an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan whose details remain unknown.
On Sunday, Israel marks its own Jerusalem Day, when it celebrates capturing the Old City in the 1967 Middle East war and annexing it.
Tensions run high during the holiday, as nationalist Israeli marches pass through Damascus Gate and the Muslim quarter. Israeli police said the area would be heavily patrolled to keep the parade from erupting into violence, as has happened in the past.
Most of the international community has not recognised Israel’s annexation of the eastern part of the city, which the Palestinians claim as their capital for a future state.
Jerusalem is the most important site for Jews, who pray towards the Western Wall, the remaining wall of the Temple Mount. The city is the third holiest site in Islam, after the cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.