Israelis Injured after Surge in Palestinian Attacks following Muslim Holiday

Israeli soldiers conduct searches, after earlier a Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli reserve IDF officer in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, in Gush Etzion on September 18, 2016. (Photo by Gerson Elinson/Flash90)

Breaking a relative lull in violence, several Israelis were injured this weekend and this morning during a surge in attacks that included four stabbings, a car ramming and rock throwing, plus two projectiles fired from Syria toward the Golan Heights.

The attacks came just after Muslims finished celebrating Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), a three-day holiday that involves the slaughter of lambs to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God. The holiday ended Thursday.

From Friday morning, attacks started up again. On Friday, a Jordanian national rushed at police officers with a knife , shouting “Allahu Akbar,” outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. He injured one before police shot and killed him. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the shooting and said 20-year-old Sayid Amro was not politically active.

Later on Friday, two Palestinians drove into a bus stop wounding three Israeli civilians in the West Bank. One of the Palestinians in the car was killed by soldiers and a woman was injured.

Another Palestinian was killed near Hebron after he stabbed an Israeli soldier, the military said. Also on Friday, a bus driver was lightly wounded near Ma’aleh Adumim outside Jerusalem when an assailant threw a rock and a canister of paint at the bus, shattering the windshield.

On Saturday, a soldier was lightly wounded in another stabbing attack near Hebron. Hatem Abed al-Hafiz Shaloudi handed his identity papers to the soldier at a checkpoint, then suddenly reached into his pocket for a knife. He lunged at the soldier and then ran at another soldier and was wrestled to the ground. He was shot at some point during the scuffle and died.

Weekend violence continued on Sunday morning in Efrat when a Palestinian stabbed a 30-year-old reserve officer. The soldier was in moderate-to-serious condition after sustaining wounds to his upper body. The attacker was shot and wounded.

The “Lone Wolf Intifada” began about one year ago and has been characterized by spontaneous attacks by individuals.

“The motivation and inspiration to carry out attacks against Israelis remains strong,” a military official said. “That’s why the IDF is strengthening its operational and intelligence efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground and deter these acts of terror.”

In addition to attacks, the Iron Dome missile interceptor shot down the two projectiles near the Golan Heights on Saturday, marking the first time that the rocket defense system has been used to neutralize threats stemming from the war in Syria.

The army believes that the projectiles were not aimed at Israeli territory, but are part of an increase in spillover from the Syrian civil war. Eight mortar shells struck the area in the last week.