Israel boosting security for Jewish holidays

2016-09-19 07:42
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP)

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Jerusalem - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday Israel was boosting security ahead of the upcoming Jewish high holidays after the past few days saw a surge in violence.

Netanyahu's comments came after what Israeli authorities said was the fifth attack on security forces or civilians since Friday following a three-week lull.

The violence over the past few days came as Palestinians wrapped up the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting on Sunday that the army and police "are boosting their forces" ahead of the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur in October.

"The security forces are on heightened alert and I will meet with them today in order to ensure that we will be ready to defend our people during this sensitive period," he said.

Earlier on Sunday, an assailant believed to be Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli officer in a West Bank settlement before being shot by forces at the scene, the army said.

It said a "terrorist carried out a stabbing attack in Efrat and wounded an officer".

Both were evacuated to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, which said the perpetrator was in moderate condition after suffering a gunshot to his head, while the soldier, also in moderate condition, had been stabbed in the armpit.

Efrat is a short distance from the flashpoint city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where a Palestinian stabbed a soldier on Saturday before being shot dead, Israeli authorities say.

On Friday, two Palestinians rammed a car into a bus stop used by Israelis near the adjacent Kiryat Arba settlement, causing injuries before troops killed one of the assailants, Israeli authorities said.

'Barbaric act'

The same day, a Jordanian tried to stab a police officer in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem before being shot dead, according to Israeli authorities.

Jordan called the shooting a "barbaric act" and alleged that the man killed was part of a group of tourists.

The Israeli army announced on Saturday it was deploying an additional battalion to reinforce the Hebron area following the uptick in violence around the city.

Violence since last October has killed 227 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, one Eritrean and a Sudanese, according to an AFP count.

Israeli forces say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. Others were shot dead during protests and clashes or killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with the Israeli occupation and settlement-building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have fed the unrest.

Israel says incitement by Palestinian leaders and media is a leading cause of the violence.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since capturing it in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel  |  culture

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