At least six people were stabbed at a gay pride parade Thursday evening in Jerusalem and at least two of the victims were in critical condition, paramedics told the Times of Israel. An ultra-Orthodox man protesting the parade was believed to be the attacker and was detained by Israeli police immediately after the stabbings, early reports indicated.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and said those responsible would be held accountable. "Justice will be dealt to whoever was responsible for this act," he said, the Jerusalem Post reported. "In the state of Israel, an individual's freedom of choice is one of the country's most basic values."
More photos from the scene pic.twitter.com/WE4A0tDHiI
— Adam Evenhaim (@adamiisme) July 30, 2015
The attacker approached the parade but was told to stay away by a policewoman, at which point he apparently took a side street around the parade. He then ran toward the crowd wielding a large knife, stabbing at least 6 individuals, according to an eyewitness to the attack.
The suspect was later confirmed to be the same man responsible for an attack on a gay pride parade in Israel 10 years earlier. Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, served 12 years in prison for stabbing three people at the parade in 2005.
Photos from the scene showed a man believed to be the attacker being arrested.
— Luke Baker (@LukeReuters) July 30, 2015
The Jerusalem parade drew thousands of marchers Thursday evening. Hundreds of police and volunteers were on the streets to ensure the controversial march proceeded smoothly, as several dozen members of a radical right-wing group turned out to stage a counter-protest against the event.
Earlier in the day, police arrested a right-wing extremist, Baruch Marzel, whose religious group often protests the march. However, law enforcement denied Marzel's arrest was relevant to the march despite occurring the day of the parade, Ha'aretz reported. Gay rights remains a controversial topic in a country where the role of religion in politics remains a highly contentious issue.
— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) July 30, 2015