The Israeli government is considering "aggressive steps" to stop continued fighting, after a wave of violence left several dead across the country. The US has strongly condemned "terrorist attacks" against Israelis.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet session on Tuesday to decide on a course of action after Palestinians launched a series of stabbing attacks against Jews in Jerusalem and the central Israeli city of Raanana.
Three Israelis were killed and dozens more wounded during the "Day of Rage," the worst bout of street violence in years. Three Palestinians, including two attackers, were also killed.
"Today we will decide on a series of additional aggressive steps in our war against terrorists and inciters," Netanyahu said in a speech to parliament. "We will use, and not hesitate to use, all means at our disposal to restore calm."
Immediately after the speech, Netanyahu continued his consultations with Israel top security officials.
According to the local media, the authorities are considering deploying the army on the streets of Jerusalem, and even blocking off Arab neighborhoods of the ancient city. Another possibility would be boosting the demolition of attackers' homes, Channel 2 TV reports.
No measures have been immediately made public.
Netanyahu has also accused Palestinian and Islamic leaders of incitement and spreading lies.
"I tell the Palestinian Authority, do not turn murderers into heroes," he said.
Hamas praising the violence
There have been more than 20 stabbings attacks since the violence started escalating around Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, the Al-Aqsa mosque, earlier this month. Most of them were committed by young Palestinians apparently acting on their own.
This has made it difficult for Israeli police to predict and prevent the attacks.
The Islamist movement Hamas has praised the stabbings on Tuesday, calling them "heroic."
"Go ahead, keep carrying out stabbing attacks, kill them (Israelis) wherever you meet them," said one Hamas speaker over a mosque loudspeaker in Gaza City.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has spoken out against the violence, but also called for Al-Aqsa to be "defended" from Israel.
Situation 'too volatile'
US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned what he called "terrorist attacks" against Israeli civilians and urged both sides to stop the violence.
"The situation is simply too volatile, too dangerous, and it is not going to lead to the outcome that people want, which is to have a peaceful resolution of differences," he said on Tuesday.
At the same time, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel to do a "serious review" of its use of force in the clashes.
Ban finds "the apparent excessive use of force by Israeli security forces" to be "troubling," his spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
The increasing violence has stirred fears of a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, 18 months after the latest attempt at peace talks collapsed.
dj/jr (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)