Several weeks of quiet in the Israeli capital came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday when two Palestinian men armed with knives attacked Israelis at the Jaffa Gate in front of the Old City of Jerusalem. One of the victims died from the stab wounds while the other was seriously wounded. It is believed that the third victim – the second fatality – was hit by police gunfire. Both of the assailants were shot to death by border police officers arriving at the scene. Authorities revealed that both terrorists had served time in Israeli jails, one for another incident of what is being called “popular terror” and one who told authorities his reason for showing up armed at a crossing point was to escape an abusive father. The incident was the latest of more than 100 attacks since October 1 in which the assailant(s) used knives or a vehicle to attack their victims. Twenty-four Israelis have been killed during that time and 282 wounded while more than 100 Palestinians have died, most of whom were killed in the act by security personnel or armed bystanders. On Thursday, a Palestinian man attacked two security guards at the industrial zone in the West Bank Israeli community of Ariel. The two wounded guards shot and killed their attacker. On Wednesday, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency revealed that it had discovered and neutralized a terror cell aligned with Hamas that was planning attacks on Israeli targets. The group, which was based in the Abu Dis neighborhood of east Jerusalem, was headed by a 24-year old from Qalandiya, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, who was trained by Hamas and recruited others to join him. Because some of the cell were Israeli citizens, they were free to travel freely throughout the area. Among the discoveries was a lab set up to make a selection of explosives. The security officials believe that a major terrorist attack has been prevented.
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