A Palestinian stabbing attack in Jerusalem Tuesday killed 3 Israeli Jews, continuing two weeks of street crime that have plagued the country.
The death toll from the recent weeks’ attacks has now come to seven Israelis and 27 Palestinians, according to Reuters. That figure includes “nine alleged attackers and eight children.”
The current trend of violence began in late September, in part after Israeli Jews began visiting the Muslim holy sites atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Access to the site is regulated by a fragile arrangement between local religious authorities, and normally Jews are forbidden from visiting the Muslim areas.
In a speech Friday, the head of Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas called the ongoing violence a third “intifada,” comparing it to the two previous waves of Palestinian anti-Israeli violence in recent memory. Several Palestinian groups declared Tuesday a symbolic “day of rage.” (RELATED: Israel Nabs Tiny Cell Of 7 ISIS Wannabes)
But notably, the primary weapon in this round of attacks is knives, rather than the suicide vests associated with the “second intifada” of the early 2000s. This suggests that most of the attackers are “lone wolves” rather than operating under direct orders from terrorist organizations.
Israeli gun laws are relatively strict, requiring background checks and regular psychological and shooting exams. And in majority-Palestinian East Jerusalem, the minimum age for owning a gun legally is much higher than in the rest of Israel. (RELATED: Guard Guns Down Knife-Wielding Psycho On Streets Of Jerusalem)
Perpetrators have also driven their cars into crowds and occasionally fired guns. Israeli Jews have retaliated, including one incident in which a man stabbed someone he mistakenly thought was a Palestinian Arab, but in fact was a fellow Jew of Middle Eastern descent.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, acknowledged that Palestinian Authority law enforcement in the West Bank is doing what it can to stop the violence.
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