Friday, May 31, 2019

31-May-19: Al Quds Day kicks off with double-stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City

The Times of Israel caption to this photo: "Israeli security forces 
and medics remove the body of a Palestinian man who had 
stabbed two Israelis in the Old City of Jerusalem, 
on May 31, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
At least two people were injured, one seriously, in stabbing attacks in Jerusalem’s Old City this morning. Times of Israel reports that the suspected terrorist was shot by police officers at the scene. His condition is not currently known (it's 7:20 am here).

But according to the rather laconic Haaretz version, "Israeli police said officers at the scene apprehended the suspect." (It appears now, some hours later, that Haaretz understated the impact on the terrorist. See below.)
Medics were treating one victim in serious condition, an approximately 50-year-old man, near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, which has seen a number of stabbing attacks in recent years. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a second man was also lightly wounded near the Hurva Synagogue... [Times of Israel]
From Israel National News:
A man was very seriously wounded in a stabbing attack on Friday morning in an area in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. The man was stabbed in his upper body and Magen David Adom paramedics are making efforts to save his life. A short time later, reports were received about an 18-year-old who was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in the vicinity of the Hurva Synagogue. An initial investigation into the attack revealed that a terrorist arrived at the Damascus Gate, stabbed a man, and then stabbed another man in the Old City. The attacker was neutralized by police forces... Magen David Adom reported that at 6:31 a.m., a report was received of two men who were stabbed, one near Damscus Gate and the other near the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Post (7:30 am) also believes the two attacks are the work of one knifer:
Israel Police spokesman Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post that a "terrorist stabbed one person at Damascus Gate, critically injuring him, and made his way into the Old City and stabbed a second person inside injuring him moderately."
We're not yet seeing reports stating the obvious - that it's Al Quds Day:
an annual event held on the last Friday of Ramadan that was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel... [and] also held in several other countries, mainly in the Arab and Muslim world, with protests against Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem.Rallies are held in various cities by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the world.
Urged on by Iran [here], there are large-scale Al Quds Day events scheduled for this weekend in Sydney and Melbourne, in London and other locations.

UPDATE May 31, 2019 at 10:00 am: From Times of Israel:
“Around 6:20 a.m., the assailant entered through the Damascus Gate. He stabbed a man inside and began running from the scene. Along the way, he saw [a 16-year-old boy] and stabbed him as well,” police said. The suspected terrorist, a 19-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank, was shot dead by police officers at the scene, a police spokesperson said.
A quick scan of Arabic social media, mainly Twitter, shows the attacker is now called "martyr" which strongly suggests the financial future of another Palestinian Arab family has gotten a lot stronger thanks to Al Quds Day.

UPDATE May 31, 2019 at 11:00 am:  No names announced yet but it's reported that the first of the two stabbing victims this morning was a 16-year-old boy, attacked as he made his way from Shacharit morning prayers at a synagogue in the Old City back to his yeshiva.
From Israel National News
“On his way back from the Hurva synagogue to the yeshiva, someone jumped him from one of the courtyards,” the victim’s father told Reshet Bet... The victim had been learning overnight at his yeshiva [a tradition on Thursday nights], then went to the Hurva synagogue for morning prayers. “At first he didn’t realize that he had been stabbed by a knife,” his father continued, “he thought he had been punched in the back. His brother was with him, and they started to run towards the Hurva synagogue, and there they called for help.”
During the terror attack another victim, estimated to be about 50 years of age, was also stabbed, leaving him in critical condition. He was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. He has been admitted to the hospital’s intensive care ward, and is unconscious and on assisted breathing.
Authorities say the terrorist entered the Old City at around 6:20 a.m. via Damascus Gate, stabbed his first victim on a side street, then fled the scene. As he ran, the terrorist spotted his second victim, stabbing him before being shot to death by Israeli police officers... The terrorist has been identified as a 19-year-old Palestinian Authority resident.
There's no coverage at this point on the scurrilous Maan News Service English-language site. But on its Arabic site, under a headline that calls him "martyr", it says
"Israeli occupation forces shot dead a Palestinian in the West Bank town of Jerusalem... The Israeli occupation forces closed all the doors of the Old City and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevented thousands of worshipers from reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
No mention of today being Al Quds Day.

UPDATE May 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm: We have the names of the stabbing victims. One is 16-year-old Yisrael Meir Nachumberg, in moderate condition at the Hadassah Hospital on Jerusalem's Mount Scopus.. The other is Gavriel Lavi, 50, who underwent emergency surgery at Shaarei Zedek Medical Center this morning and is now hospitalized in SZMC's intensive care unit. Israel National News quotes one of the doctors there saying "He arrived at the trauma unit with stab wounds all over his body - scalp, neck, back, chest and legs."

Video of the attack and its aftermath is posted on YouTube and embedded below.

UPDATE June 2, 2019 at 4:00 pm: Times of Israel says Gabriel Lavi who was seriously injured in Friday's stabbing attack is now breathing without the help of a respirator though he remains in intensive care at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. May he continue to a complete recovery. 

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