In an unprecedented measure, Israeli police barred Palestinians from Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday in response to stabbing attacks that killed two Israelis and wounded three others, as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a "harsh offensive" to counter rising violence. Tensions have flared in recent weeks over an Old City holy site sacred to Muslims and Jews, a series of so-called "lone wolf" attacks on Israelis, and a security clampdown, which on Sunday saw Israeli troops launch a bloody arrest raid in the West Bank. Israeli police said they would prevent Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from entering the Old City for two days during a Jewish holiday. Palestinians who live, work, and study within the Old City, as well as Israelis and tourists, will be allowed in.
"This is a drastic measure that's being taken in order to make sure there are no further attacks during the Jewish festival," an Israeli police rep said. A Jerusalem expert said it's the first time since Israel captured the Old City in 1967 that it has prevented Jerusalem's Palestinians from entering. Tensions have soared in recent weeks over a major holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The latest violence:
- Israeli police say a Palestinian teen stabbed and wounded a 15-year-old Israeli early Sunday in Jerusalem before being shot dead by police.
- That attack came hours after a Palestinian teen fatally stabbed two Israelis in the Old City and wounded the wife and toddler of one of the slain men, before being shot dead by Israeli police.
- In the West Bank, at least 18 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli troops Sunday. On Friday, an Israeli couple was killed in a Palestinian drive-by shooting.
Netanyahu was to meet with security officials Sunday to decide on a "harsh offensive on Palestinian Islamic terror," per his Facebook page. "We are in an all-out war against terror." (Read more Jerusalem