Four young Palestinians wielding knives have been killed in one day as a wave of violence shows no sign of slowing. Angry youths have rejected calls for calm from both Palestinian and Israeli authorities.
Four Palestinian assailants were shot dead on Saturday as a series of lone-wolf stabbing attacks continued in Israel despite tight security across the country. The five knife assaults, which took place in the West Bank and Jerusalem, illustrated that the month-long rise in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians is showing no sign of abating.
Jerusalem police spokeswoman Luba Samri described one incident to the press, saying that a 16-year-old Palestinian had drawn a knife on officers early Saturday morning when he was asked for his identification.
A bystander had reported the youth as acting suspiciously. The teenager was then killed by police when he attempted to stab them.
Later, a second attacker was shot dead when he attempted to stab a policeman on the outskirts of the city. Another three stabbings followed in the West Bank city of Hebron, where tensions frequently flare as hundreds of Jewish settlers live a stone's throw from tens of thousands of Palestinians.
Lone-wolf attackers won't be deterred
The past few weeks have seen eight Israelis killed, while 40 Palestinians, 19 of whom were identified by Israel as attackers, have also lost their lives. The recent wave of violence kicked off in September, when rumors began to circulate that Israel was planning to take over Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, which Jews refer to as the Temple Mount - a place that is also home to the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third most revered site in Islam.
The Israeli government has taken extraordinary steps in response to the violence - most of which seems to be orchestrated by youths aligned to no insurgent or terrorist group – by setting up new checkpoints around East Jerusalem and deploying hundreds of additional soldiers to flashpoints around the country.
The new security measures have done little to hinder the frustrated young people who have ignored appeals from both the Israeli and Palestinian governments to maintain calm.
"I call on the parents to show responsibility for their children and tell us, the police, about any unusual behavior," Haim Shmueli, a Jerusalem police commander, said at the scene of one of Saturday's attacks.
es/tj (AP, AFP)