2 fresh stabbings rattle Israel

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Jerusalem: A pair of Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers, while another assailant rammed a car into a bus station before stabbing bystanders on Tuesday.

Three Israelis and one attacker were killed in these near-simultaneous attacks that escalated a month-long wave of violence.

The Jerusalem attacks, along with two stabbings in a central Israeli city, marked the outbreak of violence since the current round of tensions erupted. More than 15 people were wounded.

The violence, coming at a time when peace prospects appear bleak, have fuelled a sense of panic in Israel and raised fears that the region is on the cusp of a new round of ‘intifada’.

Police closed major highways leading in and out of Jerusalem, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting of his Security Cabinet, where police were to present a plan to halt the violence.

Police spokesperson Luba Samri said the country’s internal security minister, Gilad Erdan, was considering a number of immediate steps, including sealing off Arab neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem, where many of the attackers have come from, and making it easier to get gun licenses.

While Israelis are on edge over the random nature of attacks, the long-running diplomatic deadlock has left many Palestinians feeling hopeless about their chances of ending nearly half a century of Israeli occupation.

 

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