Three Palestinians were shot dead in three separate stabbing attacks in West Bank and Jerusalem Saturday, according to reports. The attacks come amid heightened tensions after weeks of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
In the latest attack, a female Israeli police officer shot dead a Palestinian woman who stabbed her in the West Bank city of Hebron, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told the Associated Press (AP), adding that the officer was slightly injured.
In a second attack, a 16-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by officers in Jerusalem after the attacker drew a knife when officers asked for identification.
In another incident in Hebron, an Israeli pedestrian shot dead a Palestinian who tried to stab him, according to the Israeli military. This incident was the first stabbing attack Saturday.
Eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks over the past month, mostly in stabbings. During this time, 33 Palestinians were killed, including 16 who have been labeled by Israel as attackers and the rest in clashes with Israeli troops.
Meanwhile, amid heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio kicked off his visit to Israel Saturday. He met his Tel Aviv counterpart Ron Huldai and is slated to travel to Jerusalem to meet the city’s mayor later in the day. He is also scheduled to meet victims of recent Palestinian stabbing attacks at a hospital in Jerusalem, the AP reported.
The violence was partly caused by anger over Israel limiting access to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. For Muslims, the mosque is considered the third holiest place in Islam. It is also a revered site for Jews, and is known by them as the Temple Mount.
Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly accused the Islamic Movement, which runs religious and educational services for Muslims in Israel, of inciting violence by spreading false allegations about Israel's supposed intentions to take over the sensitive Jerusalem holy site.