2 Palestinians, 2 Israelis killed in Jerusalem Old City attack

13:00 Dec 23 2015 Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem

Israeli medical team gather at the site of a stabbing attack carried out by an 18-year-old Palestinian on an Israeli border policeman on June 21, 2015, at the Damascus Gate outside the Old City of Jerusalem. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)

The vest of an Israeli soldier who gave first aid to an Israeli wounded at the Jaffa Gate. (Photo Credit: Israeli Police)

Rabbi Reuven Biermacher, killed in a stabbing attack at Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate, Dec. 23, 2015.Social media

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians from Qalandiya were shot and killed after carrying out a stabbing attack at the Jaffa Gate of East Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police said.

The attack left one Israeli killed and another injured, while Israeli media reported that a third Israeli was accidentally shot at the scene and later succumbed to their wounds.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said that the Israeli that was shot at the scene was likely hit by live fire when border guards opened fire on the attackers.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that Israeli forces present in the area at the time opened fire on the Palestinians during the attack.

Following the attack, one Israeli reportedly died from stab wounds, while another is in moderate condition.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals Shaare Zedek and Hadassah, the spokesperson added.

Israeli border guards deployed in the area at the time of the attack said they “noticed people running in panic and saw two ‘terrorists’ carrying knives and stabbing a man,” al-Samri said.

One Palestinian was killed on scene, and the Ein Kerem branch of Hadassah hospital confirmed that the second died shortly after arriving to the hospital.

The Palestinians were identified as Issa Assaf and Anan Abu Habsa from Qalandiya in the occupied West Bank. The area has recently been site to heightened tensions, with two Palestinians killed in the Qalandiya refugee camp last week after attempting to run over Israeli soldiers present in the camp during a predawn arrest raid.
The Jaffa Gate area --the site of Wednesday's attack and the most commonly-used entrance into the Old City by Jewish Israelis and tourists -- was closed by Israeli Border Police following the attack, witnesses in the area said.

The Damascus Gate located nearby was also closed.

The incident marks the fourth in Jerusalem this month that resulted in the death of a Palestinian who attacked and injured Israelis.

Nearly 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military forces and settlers since violence increased at the beginning of October. Nineteen Israelis were killed in attacks by Palestinian individuals during the same time period.

While attacks initially escalated in occupied East Jerusalem in October, the majority of attacks this month took place in the occupied West Bank.

Twenty-four Palestinians have been killed in December, 18 of whom were shot dead during attacks on Israeli military and civilians, the rest killed during clashes with military forces.

The circumstances of several deaths have been under investigation by rights groups who say that Israeli forces have implemented a "shoot-to-kill" policy, resulting in the death of Palestinians who didn't pose an imminent threat at the time of their death.

by Nir Hasson for Haaretz

Two Israelis died on Wednesday in the aftermath of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City. 

One died after being shot by police who were trying to take down the two Palestinian assailants. He was identified as Ofer Ben-Ari, 46, a married father of two from Jerusalem. 

The second man, identified as Rabbi Reuven Biermacher, was seriously injured in the stabbing near the Jaffa Gate and later died of his wounds. he was a resident of Kiryat Yaarim. Biermacher, 45, is survived by his wife and seven children. 

Another person was seriously wounded in the stabbing and was evacuated for medical treatment. Shaarei Zedek Medical Center announced Wednesday evening that the condition of the third victim had stabilized, and that his life was no longer in danger.

The stabbing attack was carried out by two assailants, who were shot by Border Police officers. They were identified as Issa Asaf and Anan Abu Habaseh, both men in their early 20s from the Qalandiyah refugee camp. 

One of the attackers was killed on the spot and the second assailant died later of his wounds. A passerby beat one of the terrorists with a metal pipe after he was shot and was lying on the ground, according to a video that captured the incident.

According to the police, the two Palestinians were walking toward Jaffa Gate when they saw Jews and started stabbing them with knives. Two female Border Police officers stationed there saw civilians running toward the gate and ran toward the spot from where they were fleeing. The spotted the attackers stabbing a man, shot toward them and hit them, the police announced.  

"The fighters acted bravely and very professionally," commented the Jerusalem District Command. "They neutralized the terrorists and prevented a much bigger attack."

Rabbi Biermacher was murdered while making his way home from work.

"It is with great sorrow that I must inform you of the passing of Rav Reuven Biermacher, beloved Rebbe in the Aish HaTorah Spanish program,"  Rabbi Steven Burg, director general of the yeshiva,
posted on Facebook on Wednesday. "He spent the morning teaching Torah and was murdered on his way out of the Old City." 

Abu Habaseh was jailed in 2010 after approaching the Qalandiyah checkpoint with a knife with the intention of being arrested. He said in 2010 that he arrived at the checkpoint after being beaten repeatedly by his father and that he was sick of this reality.
Asaf was jailed this year for involvement in popular terror.

On Sunday, a stabbing attack was thwarted in Hebron. A Palestinian woman who tried to attack Israeli soldiers was shot with a rubber bullet. No other casualties were reported. 

Three people were wounded, one seriously, in a stabbing attack in the central city of Ra’anana Saturday afternoon. A 20-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank village of Tamun, near Jenin, was arrested as a suspect, after a brief chase.
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