Israel tightens security after Palestinian car attack

2014-11-06 12:40
(Thomas Coex, AFP)

(Thomas Coex, AFP)

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Jerusalem - Israel stepped up security along the Jerusalem light rail tracks on Thursday after a deadly Palestinian car attack targeted passengers waiting at a station for the second time in a fortnight.

Following Wednesday's attack, which killed a border policeman and wounded nine other people, one of them critically, Israel began installing concrete blocks around the 24 light rail stations, an AFP correspondent reported.

During the attack, Ibrahim al-Akari, 38, from Shuafat refugee camp in annexed east Jerusalem, ran over three border policemen before ramming his car into passengers waiting at the Shimon HaTsadik light rail stop.

He then jumped out of his vehicle and attacked bystanders with an iron bar before being shot dead by police.

After the attack, clashes erupted in the refugee camp as well as in the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Issawiya and Silwan, raging late into the night.

By morning, police had set up roadblocks in several Palestinian neighbourhoods in the east of the city and deployed reinforcements at key road junctions.

Heavy clashes

Overnight, 16 Palestinians were arrested but by morning calm had been restored, police spokesperson Luba Samri told AFP.

The attack took place exactly two weeks after another Palestinian from Silwan rammed his car into passengers at a light rail stop on the same road, several hundred metres further north, killing a young woman and a baby.

Since that attack, which also fuelled unrest across east Jerusalem, police have arrested 188 people, 71 of them minors, Samri said.

For several hours before Wednesday's car attack, heavy clashes raged at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City as police faced off with Palestinian stone-throwers bent on preventing a visit by Jewish extremists.

Police managed to calm the situation by locking the protesters inside the mosque then allowed the visit by the Jewish groups to go ahead.

The mosque compound, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, was open as usual on Thursday morning, an AFP correspondent reported.

However, several extremist Jewish groups were planning to march to it later on Thursday in a move likely to be seen by the Palestinians as a fresh provocation.

The march, which was to begin at 16:00 GMT, was in protest over the attempted murder by a Palestinian gunman of an extremist rabbi who is a prominent lobbyist for Jewish prayer rights at the compound.

Read more on:    israel  |  jerusalem

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