JERUSALEM, Feb 19, (Agencies): A man stabbed and wounded two policemen outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate on Friday before they shot him dead, the latest in a four-month wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis. “A terrorist attacked a squad of officers from behind, stabbed and wounded them lightly, the squad responded with fire and neutralised the terrorist,” police said, confirming the death of the assailant and identifying him as a 20-year-old Palestinian from Kafr Aqeb.
A spokeswoman for the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem said they received two men in their 20s suffering stab wounds, both of them in stable condition. Medics said they had also treated a 50-yearold woman who had suffered a light wound to her leg, apparently as a result of the shooting, before evacuating her to a hospital in east Jerusalem.
The site of the attack, in annexed east Jerusalem and adjacent to its Old City, has been a focal point in the latest wave of violence. Since Oct 1, Palestinian knife, gun and carramming attacks have taken the lives of 27 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean, according to an AFP count. At the same time, 173 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most while carrying out attacks but others during clashes and demonstrations.
Furthermore, a three-month hunger strike by a Palestinian journalist accused of militancy on behalf of Hamas has prompted stern questions from the United Nations and European Union over Israel’s policy of keeping prisoners in detention without charge. Mohammad al-Qiq, who was detained by Israeli forces in November, is on the 86th day of a hunger strike in a hospital in northern Israel. Doctors say he is becoming weaker by the day, his speech slow and laboured and that he is in pain. Israel placed him in what it calls “administrative detention”, a practice that has roots in British mandate Palestine.
It allows a prisoner to be held for up to 60 days without charge and without viewing evidence against him and can be extended with court approval. The United Nations, EU and rights groups have expressed concern about Qiq, who is refusing any food or medical treatment, and denounced administrative detention. On Thursday UN envoy on Israeli- Palestinian peacemaking Nickolay Mladenov briefed the UN Security Council. “I … call for all persons subject to administrative detention to be either charged or released immediately,” he said.