Two Israelis were killed and one more seriously wounded after a Palestinian stabbing attack at the Jaffa Gate outside the Old City of Jerusalem today.
Ofer Ben Ari, a 46-year-old Jerusalemite with two daughters, was wounded by police gunfire in the process of subduing two Palestinian terrorists who had begun stabbing passersby. Shaare Zedek Medical Center announced his death moments before news broke that a second victim, 45-year-old Reuven Birmacher, also died of his injuries. Birmacher was a resident of Kiryat Ye’arim and a father of seven. A third victim is in serious condition.
Palestinian media identified the attackers as Issa Asaf and Anan Abu Habseh, two 21-year-olds from the Qalandia refugee camp in the West Bank. The pair, who had previously been arrested for disturbing the peace, had reportedly left their cellphones and IDs at home before leaving for Jerusalem. They were shot and killed by policewomen after carrying out the attack.
The Times of Israel reported more:
Witnesses said one of the victims struggled with his stabber on the ground and was stabbed multiple times.
“Two people were struggling and at first I thought it was a game,” Yael, an eyewitness, told Israel Radio. “I saw [the attacker] trying to stab [his victim] with all his might.
“I saw the victim try to get away from him, but he couldn’t,” she added.
More than 20 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian stabbing attacks since the current wave of violence began in September. Jerusalem has been one of the focal points of the violence, with multiple attacks taking place inside or near the Old City.
A recent public opinion poll revealed that two-thirds of Palestinians support knife attacks against Israelis, while 54% oppose a two-state solution. Various Israeli security experts and Palestinian activists have attributed the ongoing wave of terror to incitement from Palestinian leaders, including government officials.
Last month, the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning incitement by the Palestinian Authority. At the time, the measure’s co-sponsor Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) said, “It is well past time for President Abbas to stand up and condemn all acts of violence, rather than encouraging violence by glorifying terrorists and teaching children to view Israelis as animals.”
[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90]