JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two Palestinian youths of 13 and 15 stabbed and critically injured a 13-year-old Israeli boy riding his bike in northern Jerusalem on Monday, police said, continuing a wave of attacks in the city in which three alleged Palestinian assailants were shot dead.
Four Israelis and 26 Palestinians, including eight alleged attackers and eight children, have died in 12 days of bloodshed, the worst spell of street violence for years, stirred in part by Muslim anger over increasing Jewish visits to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.
Palestinian groups have called for a “Day of Rage” across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem on Tuesday and the leaders of Israel’s Arab community have called for a commercial strike in their towns and villages.
Some of Israel’s Jewish residents have also taken to the streets, to protest against the attacks, and have demanded the government do more to restore security.
Two Palestinian youths aged 13 and 15 stabbed two Israelis on the northern edge of Jerusalem, critically injuring one of them, the 13-year-old boy, police and hospital sources said.
Police said the older of the assailants in Pisgat Zeev, built on occupied land that Israel annexed to Jerusalem after the 1967 Middle East war, had been shot dead and the younger one wounded.
An hour earlier, a Palestinian girl of 16 from the same quarter of East Jerusalem as the Pisgat Zeev attackers stabbed and wounded a paramilitary border policeman in central Jerusalem.
And as night fell, police said they had shot dead a Palestinian on a bus near the central bus station who had first tried to grab a soldier’s rifle and then succeeded in grabbing the pistol of a police officer attending the scene. The soldier and another passenger were slightly hurt.
Police also said a border policeman had shot dead a Palestinian who tried to stab him, although the account was disputed by a Palestinian passer-by, who said he had witnessed the incident and seen no knife.
The near-daily stabbings have raised speculation that Palestinians could be embarking on another uprising or intifada, reflecting a new generation’s frustrations over their veteran leadership’s failure to achieve statehood in abortive peace talks with Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told parliament that the knife attackers would fail just as suicide bombers had failed a decade ago.
“The terror of suicide bombers did not vanquish us then, and the terror of knives will not beat us now,” he said.
Police have deployed 2,000 reinforcements in Jerusalem, but Israeli leaders say they have no easy answer to “lone wolf” assailants.
The violence has spread from Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank to Israel’s interior and to Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Muslim anger has been stoked by increasing visits made over the past year by Jewish groups and right-wing Israeli lawmakers to the al-Aqsa mosque compound. Located in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, it is Islam’s third holiest site and is also revered by Jews as the site of two destroyed biblical temples.
Israel has said it has no intention of allowing any change to the status quo at the compound, which Jews are allowed to visit, but where non-Muslim prayer is banned.
Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Kevin Liffey