UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday warned of a dangerous escalation in Jerusalem and the West Bank following the recent spate of terror attacks and appealed for calm.
Ban strongly condemned the violence that left two Israeli men dead in the Old City Saturday, and which was followed by clashes overnight that left scores injured.
“Recalling the recent deadly attack on another Israeli family in the occupied West Bank, and in light of the wave of extremism and violence sweeping the region, the secretary-general is deeply concerned that these latest incidents signal a dangerous slide toward escalation,” said a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening wrapped up a four-hour security meeting on the recent uptick in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank and ordered new security measures be implementedin light of the terror upsurge.
Israeli warplanes have launched airstrikes on targets in Gaza overnight in retaliation to rocket fire which struck Israeli territory earlier in the day.
At least three explosions in the Gaza strip were reported on social media by witnesses, who saw Israeli F-16 jets and drones circling the airspace.
The strikes apparently targeted sites of the Palestinian Hamas organization’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades. Reports suggested that the Abu Jarad training site and Bader camp in the central Gaza Strip were hit.
On Sunday evening two rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, with one exploding on the Gazan side of the border. The second rocket exploded in an open area of the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damages, local media reported. Both rockets were fired shortly after 11:00pm local time.
More than 3,500 police officers are participating in a massive, nearly unprecedented security operation to bar Arab non-residents of Jerusalem’s Old City from entering the ancient walled city for the next 48 hours, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed in a radio interview Sunday.
“We’re dealing at the moment with a wave of terror, I would call it. We’re being very careful with ongoing security assessments,” Rosenfeld said on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” speaking live from the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Following a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks in and near the Old City in the last 24 hours, the Israeli government took the highly unusual step of only permitting entry into the Old City to “Israeli citizens, Old City residents, tourists, Old City business owners and pupils learning there,” according to a Jerusalem police statement.
The move comes as thousands of Jews are entering the Old City to pray at the Western Wall during the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, a day at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles celebrating the giving of the Torah.
Rosenfeld said that earlier Sunday 12 potential suspects were removed from Temple Mount area, with police fearing the Arabs were planning to target Jews in the area.
Also earlier on Sunday, in the second such incident in 24 hours, a terrorist stabbed a 15-year-old outside of a gas station near the Old City in Jerusalem, moderately wounding the teenager. The attacker fled the scene and was shot and killed by police while stalking a main thoroughfare with a large knife.
On Saturday, a horrific scene unfolded at the entrance to Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where a Palestinian terrorist murdered two Israeli males and injured a 22-year-old woman, along with her two-year-old baby.
The Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad threatened a return to the use of suicide bombers in attacks against Israelis — attacks that devastatingly typified the Second Intifada in 2000-
In a video newly published on Palestinian social media, entitled “Letter #1,” a supposed Islamic Jihad member can be seen preparing for a suicide attack inside Israel dressed as an Israeli soldier, as a montage of recent images of violence on the Temple Mount, across Jerusalem, and in the West Bank flash onscreen.
Footage of the making of an explosive belt — which suicide bombers used during the Second Intifada — can also be seen in the video.
The would-be terrorist can then be seen in the frame smiling while filming his “shaheed [martyr] video” (usually released after a given attack showing the bomber delivering his last message before embarking on the mass killings). Then he is shown dressed in IDF uniform walking up to a bus stop where other “soldiers” are waiting. A bus pulls up and the screen fades to black.
Russian fighter jets have attacked 10 Islamic State targets in Syria in their latest airstrikes, destroying arms depots, training centers and infrastructure, Defense Ministry says. In the last 24 hours, Russian military aircraft have performed 20 sorties.
Armored Sukhoi Su-25 ground-support fighter jets have attacked a jihadist training center in Idlib province, also destroying a workshop producing suicide belts, according to the newly-released Defense Ministry report.
Three depots with munitions, arms and material assets have been eliminated with pinpoint strikes. As a result of direct hits from KAB-500 air bombs, installations and munitions have been taken out.
Sukhoi Su-24M and Su-34 bombers inflicted airstrikes on eight terrorist installations near Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province, the ministry said.
Four command centers of Islamic State have been attacked with BETAB-500 bunker-busting air bombs, the ministry says. All four installations have been completely destroyed.
Su-25 jets struck a jihadist training camp in Kelajak, Idlib.
Sukhoi Su-24 bombers and Su-25 ground-support fighters have performed three consecutive airstrikes on terrorist installations near Maaret En Nuuman. All targets have been eliminated.
In the vicinity of Al-Tabqa in Raqqa Province, Su-34 bombers attacked an Islamic State training camp and an arms depot on its territory with KAB-500 bombs. The airstrike resulted in multiple explosions of munitions completely destroying the target.
According to the estimates of Russia’s General Staff of Armed Forces, the airstrikes inflicted on Islamic State installations in Syria have disrupted the command system, inventory and logistics of the terrorist organization. The infrastructure used to stage terror attacks in Syria and Iraq has also been severely damaged.
The ministry has also released several videos, which it says show Russian Air Force strikes on terrorist facilities: