Rash of Stabbing Attacks Puts Israel on Edge
JERUSALEM, Israel -- A nearly unprecedented rash of stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and other places has Israeli security services on high alert.
In response to the terror situation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City off limits to Knesset members and elected officials.
By late afternoon Thursday, there were three stabbing attacks one in Jerusalem, one in Tel Aviv and one near Kiryat Arba, injuring at least 7 Israelis.
In Jerusalem, a 19-year-old Palestinian stabbed an Israeli man in the neck, seriously wounding him. The attacker was tackled and taken into custody.
In Tel Aviv, a terrorist stabbed a female soldier and stole her weapon. He was shot and killed.
Kiryat Arba is near the biblical city of Hevron, south of Jerusalem. According to preliminary reports, a Palestinian arrived in Kiryat Arba, stabbed a resident of the town and fled.
On Wednesday, there were six attacks in which 9 Israelis were injured, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
In an attempt to calm the situation, Netanyahu said Thursday that no Knesset members or elected officials would be allowed on the Temple Mount, which has been a flashpoint for more than a year in the current round of tensions.
In response, Israeli Arab Knesset members declared they'd go anyway for Friday's Muslim prayers. It's not clear how Israel plans to stop them.
Earlier, Netanyahu pledged Israel would overcome this recent "wave of terrorism."
"We are taking strong action against the terrorists, rioters and inciters," Netanyahu said. "We have boosted our forces and are using all necessary means and methods in the fight against this terrorism."
Netanyahu said that civilians "are at the forefront of the war against terrorism and must also be on maximum alert."
Stone-throwing and other attacks against Israelis have been on a slow boil for months. They began to escalate at the beginning of Israel's High Holy Days in September and increased during the week-long Sukkot holiday, which began last week and ended at the beginning of this week.
Four Israelis were killed in two separate attacks last week.
Rosenfeld told CBN News that Israel hasn't seen this intensity of attacks on the streets for a "long period of time."
In addition to the stabbing attacks, Palestinians have been confronting IDF soldiers with rocks throughout Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. the West Bank) for the last two weeks. A number of Palestinians have been killed and wounded during those riots.