Two Israeli officers wounded in Jerusalem stabbing attack

Two Israeli Border Police officers were wounded early this morning, after a resident of an Arab neighbourhood in East Jerusalem attacked them with a knife.

The attack occurred near the Lion’s Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City at around 4am local time. The assailant is reported to have entered a guard booth where the officers were stationed, before stabbing them with a butcher’s knife. One of the officers was able to break free from the ensuing scuffle and open fire, killing the attacker.

The two officers were taken by paramedics to a Jerusalem hospital. One is being treated for moderate injuries, while the other was reported to be in a more serious condition.

Police had deployed extra security in Jerusalem ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is celebrated in the city today, and credited these extra measures “together with the troops’ alertness and professionalism” for “bringing this incident to an end in a short amount of time”. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were also closed to movement for the duration of the Purim festivities.

The attacker was later named by Arabic media as 25-year-old Ibrahim Mahmoud Mattar, from the Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood.

A number of terrorists who have carried out terror attacks on Israelis during the last 18 months have hailed from Jabel Mukaber, including a vehicle attack in January, when a resident ploughed a truck into a crowd of soldiers at a nearby popular promenade, killing four servicemen and women.

There is no suggestion at present that Mattar was affiliated to a wider terror group. His home is reported to have been raided by Israeli security forces and several arrests have been made.

Although in recent months the frequency of attacks has slowed, 46 people have been killed by stabbings, shootings and car-rammings in a wave of Palestinian terror attacks since October 2015, with many attacks taking place in or around Jerusalem’s Old City.