Israeli police shot a Palestinian after stabbing and wounding an ultra-Orthodox Jew on Saturday near the Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, a tense and crowded area that is often characterized by demonstrations and protests. There is a scene of clashes.
A widely circulated video, shot by a bystander, shows an officer of Israel’s paramilitary border police shooting the assailant while he was already lying on the ground, and another video shows police using guns. Shown with what prevented medics from reaching him, asking to be called. Investigation of possible excessive use of force.
Magen David Edom Emergency Service said it treated an ultra-Orthodox man in his 20s who was stabbed in the area, saying he was in moderate to severe condition. It said the attacker was “shot.” It was not immediately clear whether the attacker was killed.
Israeli police released surveillance video in which the attacker can be seen stabbing a Jewish man and then attempting to stab a police officer before shooting and falling to the ground. Police said they “neutralized” the attacker and did not immediately respond to requests for clarification. They identified him as a 25-year-old man from Salfit, occupied by the West Bank.
“The terrorist was eliminated due to the awareness and quick response of the police,” the police said in a statement.
A large number of security forces were deployed in the area where they clashed with a crowd of young Palestinians before dispersing them with tear gas and stun grenades.
The Damascus Gate was the center of protests and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police last spring during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The unrest spread to other parts of the city, including a site sacred to Jews and Muslims, which eventually helped ignite the 11-day Gaza War.
The Old City is in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war. Israel does not recognize East Jerusalem internationally and considers the entire city as its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, which would include the West Bank and Gaza.
There have been dozens of attacks in and around the old city in recent years, almost all by individual Palestinians with no ties to armed groups. Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group that governs Gaza, praised Saturday’s attack but did not claim responsibility.
The latest attack comes a little more than a week after a Hamas militant opened fire in the old city, killing one Israeli and wounding four others before being fatally shot by police. It was not clear whether Hamas leaders ordered the attack or whether the man acted alone.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed support for the police after Saturday’s attack, saying they acted “quickly and with great determination as expected from the police in Israel against a terrorist who tried to murder an Israeli civilian.” “
But the video showing the attacker being shot on the ground called for an investigation.
Esawi Frez, a leftist Arab minister in the Israeli government that includes factions across the political spectrum, said the shooting should be investigated. “Invaders should shoot to save human life, not take their own life when they no longer pose a threat,” he tweeted.
Palestinian and Israeli rights groups say security forces sometimes use excessive force in response to attacks, killing suspected attackers who could have been arrested or who posed no immediate threat to security forces.
In a widely publicized case, Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was caught on camera shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant who was lying on the ground. Azaria later served two-thirds of his 14-month sentence after being found guilty of reckless murder.
His case sharply divided the Israelis. The military insisted on prosecuting him, saying it violated his code of conduct, while many Israelis, especially those on the nationalist right, defended his actions.
In a recent case, a border police officer was charged with negligent murder in the fatal shooting of an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City last year.
The indictment came just a year after the shooting of Iyad Hullak, whose family criticized Israel’s murder investigation and demanded much tougher charges. The shooting has drawn comparisons to the police killing of George Floyd in the United States.
Israel says its security forces do everything possible to avoid harm to civilians and that it investigates the alleged abuse.
Rights groups say Israel rarely holds members of its security forces responsible for the deadly shootings of Palestinians. Investigations often end without charges or soft sentences, and in many cases witnesses are not even called for questioning.