Defense establishment believes terrorist groups will try to strike over Passover, security forces placed on high alert nationwide • Alert level in Jerusalem raised after terrorist stabs two youths in the Old City, is killed by Border Police.
Efrat Forsher, Itsik Saban, Yori Yalon - Israel Hayom
According to the Walla news website, Jerusalem District Police Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy is expected to hold a situation assessment on Sunday afternoon, and he may seek to bolster deployment even further.
"We are naturally bolstering [police forces] ahead of the holiday. This escalation is definitely an escalation we must prepare for with additional manpower and be much more vigilant about, even though we've managed to thwart the majority of incidents that took place this past year, and will continue to do so," Halevy said.
He suggested that anyone seeking to fan the flames and prevent people from visiting Jerusalem "think twice."
"We will be much more prepared than in the past, more focused, more vigilant, and we will respond much more quickly, like we have thus far to such incidents," Halevy said.
Saturday's incident took place at around 3:15 p.m., when a 17-year-old Palestinian from the Nablus region, who had no permit to be in Israel, began following two haredi youths aged 18 and 20 down Hagai Street in the Old City of Jerusalem.
When he saw an opportunity, the terrorist attacked them with a knife he had been carrying, stabbing one in the torso and the second in his extremities. He then fled the scene and ducked into the stairwell of a nearby residential building.
Police forces chased the suspect into the building, and a fight broke out as he attempted to escape. When the suspect realized he was cornered, he lunged at one of the policemen and attempted to stab him, at which point the troops engaged, shooting and killing the terrorist.
Border Police Master Sgt. A., whom the terrorist tried to stab, was lightly wounded in the leg by a piece of shrapnel that hit him when his fellow officers fired at the suspect. He was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was treated and released on Saturday night.
"While on duty in the Old City, I received a report about a terrorist and two people who'd been wounded. I got there, asked people where the terrorist had run to, and they pointed out where he'd gone, a residential building," A. recalled the incident.
"Chasing after him, I went into the building and all of a sudden the terrorist jumped on me with a knife. I shot at him a few times, and killed him," A. said.
Paramedics called to the scene rushed both victims to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. The were released from hospital on Sunday morning.
IDF and Civil Administration forces raided the terrorist's home on Sunday morning, as part of the investigation into the incident.
Security forces will be on high alert nationwide throughout the Passover holiday, as the defense establishment believes terrorist groups are highly motivated to carry out attacks over the holiday.
Large contingents of police and Border Police forces will be deployed in all major cities, with emphasis on city centers, shopping centers, markets and other crowded spots, as well as hitchhiking posts and bus stations. Increased security will include setting up moveable and immobile roadblocks at entrances to cities and increased patrols near areas of prayer.
Over the holiday, increased police deployment will focus on holy sites and recreational destinations like parks, national parks, and nature reserves, as well as along major highways and other high-traffic roads. Extra police presence will be felt along the seam line between east and west Jerusalem and in the Greater Jerusalem area, as well as at entrances to Israel from Judea and Samaria.