Israeli police kill Palestinian assailant in Jerusalem stabbing

AFP
Jerusalem Published: Dec 04, 2021, 11:33 PM(IST)

Israel and Palestine's flags (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Footage filmed by a bystander near the Damascus Gate and widely shared on social media showed the assailant lying prone on a sidewalk as police continued to fire shots

Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian man outside the Old City in Jerusalem on Saturday after he stabbed an Israeli civilian and tried to attack police, Israeli police and Palestinian medics said.

The assailant stabbed a man near the city's Damascus Gate and then "attempted to stab a border police officer," police said in a statement.

"Police neutralised the stabber," it added. 

A spokeswoman for the Palestinian Red Crescent said police killed the Palestinian assailant.

Israel's Magen David Adom emergency service said the stabbing victim was a 20-year-old religious Jewish man who was taken to hospital in "moderate to severe condition".

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa identified the assailant as Mohammad Shawkat Ahmed Salima, 25, from the northern West Bank town of Salfit.

Video released by police showed Salima tackling a man in ultra-Orthodox garb, then running to attack a police officer before he was shot.

Footage filmed by a bystander near the Damascus Gate and widely shared on social media showed the assailant lying prone on a sidewalk as police continued to fire shots. 

Border Police Commander Amir Cohen said he "fully backed" the forces who "responded as needed to the incident" to prevent additional harm.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised police for acting "quickly and decisively... against a terrorist who tried to murder an Israeli citizen".

The Palestinian foreign ministry called the shooting a "field execution".

Mohammed Hamadeh, Jerusalem spokesman for Islamist group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, decried the "deliberate shooting of a wounded young man lying on the ground".

The police response also drew criticism from some Israeli politicians and rights groups.

"The execution of a person who no longer poses a threat is a horrible and terrible crime," Arab-Israeli lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman said on Twitter.

Rights group B'Tselem tweeted, "the assailant wasn't 'neutralized'. He was summarily executed."

Police fired tear gas as Palestinians faced off with security forces near the Damascus Gate after the shooting. 

The Red Crescent said three Palestinians were hospitalised during the confrontation. 

Saturday's incident came after a Hamas-affiliated gunman fatally shot a Jewish tour guide in Jerusalem's Old City before police killed him last month.

Days before that, security forces shot dead a 16-year-old assailant in the Old City who they said stabbed two police officers.

The Old City is located in east Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967 and which Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state.

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