Jerusalem attacks: Israelis wounded in fresh stabbings

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe second attack took place near Israeli police headquarters in the Ammunition Hill district

Five Israelis have been stabbed in Jerusalem - the latest in a series of recent stabbings by Palestinians.

In the latest attack, an Israeli soldier was wounded after being stabbed on board a bus. The attacker was shot dead and one civilian was injured.

Two youths were stabbed earlier at a settlement in East Jerusalem, leaving one of the victims, a 13-year-old boy, in a critical condition.

Two Israeli policemen were also wounded in separate attacks.

Four Israelis and dozens of Palestinians, including several assailants, have been killed in the recent upsurge of violence.

In the fifth attack on Monday, a man described by Israeli police as Arab stabbed an Israeli soldier on board a bus after trying to seize his gun. A civilian was also injured before the attacker was shot dead.

The day's attacks began when an Arab man stabbed a policeman in the Old City after being stopped when he was seen acting suspiciously, police said. The officer was saved from injury because he was wearing a protective vest. His attacker was shot dead by police.

It occurred near the Lions' Gate, the scene of several other previous stabbings.

Later, an Arab woman stabbed a policeman near police headquarters in the Ammunition Hill area of East Jerusalem, police said. The policeman, who was lightly wounded, managed to shoot and injure the attacker.

image copyrightAFP
image captionPolice said the officer managed to shoot the female attacker after she stabbed him
image copyrightEPA
image captionLions' Gate has been the scene of several stabbings in recent days

One of the Palestinian attackers of the two youths in the Pisgat Zeev settlement was shot and killed by police. His 13-year-old accomplice was shot and seriously injured.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri identified the two assailants as 13- and 17-year-old Palestinians from nearby Beit Hanina.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have soared recently, fuelled by clashes at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, and across the Gaza border, as well as the wave of stabbings.

At the weekend several Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops and by an Israeli air strike on a militant site in Gaza in response to rocket fire on Israel.

What is happening between Israelis and Palestinians?

There has been a spate of stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians since early October, and one apparent revenge stabbing by an Israeli. The attacks, in which some Israelis have died, have struck in Jerusalem and elsewhere, and in the occupied West Bank. Israel has tightened security and clashed with rioting Palestinians, leading to deaths on the Palestinian side. The violence has also spread to the border with Gaza.

What's behind the latest unrest?

After a period of relative quiet, violence between the two communities has spiralled since clashes erupted at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site in mid-September. It was fuelled by rumours among Palestinians that Israel was attempting to alter a long-standing religious arrangement governing the site. Israel repeatedly dismissed the rumours as incitement. Soon afterwards, two Israelis were shot dead by Palestinians in the West Bank and the stabbing attacks began. Both Israel and the Palestinian authorities have accused one another of doing nothing to protect each other's communities.

Is this a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising?

There have been two organised armed uprisings by Palestinians against Israeli occupation, in the 1980s and early 2000s. With peace talks moribund, some observers have questioned whether we are now seeing a third. The stabbing attacks seem to be opportunistic and although they have been praised by militant groups, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said Palestinians are not interested in a further escalation.