Israeli police and a civilian shot and killed three Palestinians on Saturday who they said were attacking them with kitchen knives, as a wave of Palestinian assaults continued, answered by deadly Israeli fire.
In Jerusalem, Israeli police said a 16-year-old Palestinian was stopped for questioning at one of the newly erected checkpoints deployed to cordon Arab East Jerusalem from Jewish West Jerusalem. The teen pulled out a knife and was fatally shot by police at the scene.
In Hebron, in the West Bank, where hundreds of Jewish settlers live in the old quarter of a Palestinian city, Israeli authorities said a Palestinian teen approached an Israeli policewoman near the Cave of the Patriarchs, a place holy to Muslims and Jews, and pulled out a knife.
The officer suffered light injuries to her hands. A border police officer shot and killed the attacker, police said.
Also in Hebron, Israeli police say a Palestinian man brandished a knife and was shot dead by an Israeli civilian.
Eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian knife, gun and vehicular attacks this month. Thirty-four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 17 labeled by Israel as attackers, and the rest in clashes with Israeli troops, according to the latest count by the Associated Press.
On Friday, Palestinians set fire to a Jewish shrine in the West Bank, and clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli military flared during a “day of rage” called by the Islamist militant movement Hamas.
The blaze at the Tomb of the Prophet Joseph, on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was brought under control by Palestinian forces, who also dispersed hundreds of protesters. There were no reports of injuries, but the Israeli military said the structure was seriously damaged.
The incident underscored the runaway tensions across Israel and the West Bank amid a series of attacks and clashes that have claimed lives on both sides and brought the Israeli army into residential areas in Israel for the first time in more than a decade.
In an unusual move, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attack as “irresponsible.” He said he would appoint a committee to investigate the incident, local media reported.
Israeli leaders have accused Abbas of failing to intervene in the latest unrest — which was triggered by confrontations at another holy site, Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The site is considered holy by Muslims, who refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews, who call it the Temple Mount.