Police: 3 Palestinian stabbing attacks in Jerusalem

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(AP) — Palestinians carried out three stabbing attacks against Israelis and police in Jerusalem on Monday and two of the attackers were shot dead, Israeli police said, as a wave of violence continued.

Two Palestinians stabbed two Israelis in Jerusalem, prompting police to open fire, killing one of the attackers and wounding the other, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Police said the two victims, one 16 years old and the other 20, were seriously wounded.

The attack took place in Pisgat Zeev, a Jewish settlement in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel seized in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel considers the entire city its undivided capital.

Earlier Monday, elsewhere in Jerusalem, police officers noticed a Palestinian man acting suspiciously and ordered him to take his hand out of his pocket, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. The man then attacked an officer with a knife, but the officer was wearing a protective vest and was not injured, she said. Other officers shot the attacker dead, police said.

The attack took place near the Lions Gate of Jerusalem’s walled Old City on the predominantly Arab eastern sector.

In the afternoon, an Israeli police officer confronted a Palestinian woman who was acting suspiciously, Samri said. The woman then stabbed and lightly wounded him before he shot and wounded her, she said.

That attack took place near police headquarters in Jerusalem, in an area that straddles the eastern district and the predominantly Jewish west.

Recent days have seen a series of stabbing attacks in Israel and the West Bank that have wounded several Israelis. Nine of the attackers have been shot dead. Past weeks have also seen violent demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza, and at least 16 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, including a mother and toddler killed Sunday in a Gaza airstrike.

At the start of the month, two Israelis were killed in a West Bank shooting attack and two Israelis were stabbed to death in Jerusalem. Last month an Israeli motorist was killed when Palestinians hurled stones at his vehicle in Jerusalem, causing it to crash.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the violence on incitement by groups including the Islamic Movement, which runs religious and educational services for Arab citizens of Israel. Netanyahu is seeking sanctions on the group, which has led a campaign accusing Israel of plotting to take over a sacred Old City compound revered by both Jews and Muslims, a claim Israel denies.

Israeli police said they have arrested a local leader of the Islamic Movement in the Bedouin Arab town of Rahat in southern Israel who was suspected of organizing a group of protesters who vandalized security cameras and other property in the town on Friday, as demonstrations have been taking place in predominantly Arab cities throughout Israel.

The European Union’s top diplomat, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, told Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in phone calls Sunday evening to avoid action that could increase tensions, and called on both sides to agree on “substantial steps which would improve the situation on the ground” and lead to renewed peace talks, according to an EU statement.

Marwan Barghouti, a popular Palestinian figure who was convicted of planning deadly attacks on Israelis during the second intifada, published an op-ed in The Guardian newspaper Sunday saying the cause of recent violence was “denial of Palestinian freedom.”

Barghouti, who was arrested in 2002 and is serving five life sentences, is seen as a possible successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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