By Jeffrey Heller and Ori Lewis
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian stabbed and severely wounded an Israeli in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday and the suspected attacker was then shot dead by police, Israeli security officers said.
It was the second attack on Israelis in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in three days and a sign of rising tensions.
A spokesman for Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said the man was stabbed in the upper body and was rushed to hospital by ambulance in critical condition. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was in his 30s and worked as a private security guard.
Israel’s Shin Bet security agency named the suspect as Abdel Rahman Bani Fadel, 28, a Palestinian father of two from the village of Akraba near town of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
The incident followed an attack on Friday in the occupied West Bank in which the Israeli military said a Palestinian motorist rammed and killed two Israeli soldiers guarding a road near a Jewish settlement.
Tensions have risen in Jerusalem since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6, and the city is on a high state of alert ahead of the Jewish Passover holiday at the end of March and festivities next month to mark 70 years since Israel’s founding.
Rosenfeld said a knife found at the scene of Sunday’s attack was believed to be the weapon used by the assailant.
A senior police commander told reporters at the scene that officers positioned nearby had raced to the scene and shot the assailant.
“Police officers who were about 150 meters (yards) from the scene heard shouting, they reacted swiftly, closing in on the incident and managed to neutralize the attacker,” the commander, Haim Shmuely, said.
Police said the assailant had been shot dead. They declined to comment on Israeli news reports earlier that the assailant was carrying Turkish identity papers.
Shmuely said security services, always at a high state of readiness in Jerusalem because of possible attacks, had raised their alert levels further ahead of the forthcoming festivities when many visitors are expected to visit the city.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli forces operating on the Gaza border foiled an attempt by the Hamas militant group to rebuild an attack tunnel, the Israeli military said.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams, writing by Jeffrey Heller and Ori Lewis; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Susan Fenton)