“No doubt there is an escalation that we are facing and we are deployed in force in the field for any scenario,” Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said at the scene of a terror attack.
By Erin Viner
The senior police chief made his observation shortly after a Palestinian stabbed and wounded two Israeli teenagers near the Central Bus Station in the capital on Monday, some 200 meters from the TV7 studio.
Two female Border Police patrol officers stationed nearby shot and wounded the terrorist, who was identified as 17-year-old Basil Shawamra from the village of Deir al-Asal al-Fauqa near Hebron in the southern West Bank. Two additional suspects were also arrested.
Praising the “excellent response by the officers,” Police Commander Turgeman said “the deployment and fast response together with determination and exercises conducted in Jerusalem every day led to the quick neutralization of the terrorist and the prevention of additional lives being endangered.”
According to eyewitness accounts, both victims were ultra-Orthodox and easily discernable as Jews. One was reportedly stabbed in the head and the other in the hand. They were evacuated in moderate condition to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where physicians said both were conscious and stable. The attacker, who was critically wounded, underwent surgery at the same hospital after resuscitation attempts.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz wished the victims a swift recovery and vowed that the nation’s security forces “will continue to act resolutely against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens.”
“The vigilance and rapid and professional action of the forces on the ground prevented a much more severe result,” said Israel’s top defense official, who praised both the Border Police response in Jerusalem as well as IDF troops who foiled a similar terrorist attack just hours earlier at the Gush Etzion junction.
Another Palestinian terrorist was shot while attempting to try to stab an Israeli soldier with a screwdriver. He was also taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center with gunshot wounds to his hand, but no soldiers were injured in the attack.
Tensions have spiked since 6 Palestinian security inmates serving life terms for deadly terrorist offenses broke out of the maximum-security Gilboa Prison in northern Israel a week ago. 4 of the convicts have already been caught.
Palestinians celebrated the jailbreak of the prisoners, whom they regard as “heroes.” Hundreds clashed nightly with Israeli security forces amid the intense manhunt for the fugitive, and the Islamist Hamas terror group that rules Gaza fired rockets over 3 consecutive days at Israel after news of their recapture.
Hamas also hailed yesterday’s terror attack in the capital.
“The escalation of stabbings in occupied Jerusalem, the shootings, the increasing confrontations of popular anger in the West Bank and the demonstrations in Gaza, come within the framework of the ‘Freedom Intifada’ launched by our Palestinian people in solidarity with the heroic prisoners and confronting the brutality of the occupation against them,” said the terror group in a statement.
Spokesman of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group in Gaza, Daoud Shehab, also lauded the Jerusalem attack as a “commando operation.” He added that so-called “acts of resistance are a legitimate right of the Palestinian people,” while underscoring that “we bless and support this jihadist act and salute all the revolutionaries in Jerusalem, the West Bank and everywhere – and we affirm that resistance is the most capable approach to deterring the ‘occupation.’”
Palestinian terror groups deny any connection of the Jewish People to Israel, and have vowed to “liberate all of Palestine” by obliterating the Jewish State considered to be an “occupying” entity.