Three Israelis were stabbed to death and another was badly wounded Friday night in an attack by a Palestinian man in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank – capping a day of violent clashes.
The assailant — identified by Israel Radio as a 19-year-old from the West Bank village of Khobar near Ramallah – was shot by a neighbor after he attacked the four civilians, Reuters reported.
It was not immediately known whether he was killed or wounded.
Paramedics said two men and a woman died of their wounds after being stabbed in the Orthodox community of Halamish, also known as Neveh Tsuf, the Times of Israel reported.
Another woman was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in serious condition.
According to early reports, the incident involved a terrorist breaking into a home and stabbing its residents in the settlement north of Jerusalem.
First-responders described a “very difficult” scene of carnage in the house.
“When we went into the house we saw four casualties lying [on the floor] with stab wounds. Three of them were unconscious, with no pulse and [were] not breathing,” paramedic Ohad Amitoun told the Times of Israel.
“Another 60-year-old woman was conscious and suffered stab wounds to her upper body. She was treated at the scene and was evacuated,” he added.
The attack came at the end of a bloody day in which three Palestinians were killed earlier after Israeli police barred Muslim men under 50 years old from entering Jerusalem’s Old City.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel over new security measures at a highly sensitive holy site in Jerusalem.
Thousands demonstrated against the upgraded measures in the city, including the installation of metal detectors at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound — known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary.
Palestinian medical officials said the three men died of gunshot wounds, the Times of Israel reported.
Among those killed was 17-year-old boy who was shot in Ras al-Amud outside the Old City, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency reported.
More than 200 people were reported injured from live bullets, rubber-coated projectiles, burning and tear gas inhalation in the clashes across Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
Israeli authorities said they used crowd-dispersal measures to counter the clashes, in which at least one Israeli police officer was injured, the Israeli news outlet reported.
The latest mayhem erupted a week after three Arab-Israeli men gunned down two Israeli border policemen near the highly sensitive compound in Jerusalem that is holy to both Muslims and Jews.
Muslim leaders urged people not to enter the compound until Israel removes the detectors.
Abbas said the freeze would stay in effect until Israel lifted the measures at the compound.
“I, on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, announce… a freeze of all contacts with the occupation state on all levels until Israel commits to cancelling all the measures against our Palestinian people in general and Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque in particular,” Abbas said to applause from Palestinian officials.
The city’s top Muslim cleric, Mohammed Hussein, told worshippers earlier that he expected a “long test of wills” with Israel.
With Post Wires