An 18-year-old Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli near a contested shrine in Jerusalem on Wednesday and was then shot and wounded by the injured man, Israeli police said, the third knife attack in the city in less than a week.
Police said the attacker struck in an alleyway near the Western Wall, a Jewish prayer site abutting the al-Aqsa mosque complex – Islam’s third holiest shrine which Jews also revere as the vestige of their two ancient temples.
Both Israel and the U.S.-backed administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have sought to calm a surge in street violence that has been exacerbated by confrontations between Palestinian protesters and armed officers at the al-Aqsa site.
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Four Israelis have been killed in stabbings in Jerusalem and a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank since Thursday and two Palestinians have been shot dead and scores injured in clashes with security services, triggering fears of an escalation.
The Palestinian woman stabbed the Israeli in the back, lightly wounding him, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. The man then drew a gun and shot the woman, who was taken to hospital in serious condition, Samri added.
Confrontations spread late on Tuesday to Jaffa, a predominantly Arab neighbourhood of Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv, where three police officers were injured in stone-throwing and six protesters arrested, police said.
Palestinians fear increasing visits by Jewish groups to al-Aqsa are eroding longtime Muslim religious control there.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is committed to maintaining the status quo at al-Aqsa.