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Israeli police say prevented stabbing attack in Jerusalem, suspect in custody

An Israeli border police officer watches as Israelis wave national flags inside the Old City's Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 13, 2018. Israel is marking the 51th anniversary of its capture of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli Police said on Wednesday afternoon that last week they prevented a stabbing attack planned by a Palestinian in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The suspect is reportedly a 26 year-old man from Hebron in the West Bank. On August 8, he was stopped and searched in the Old City by Israeli police officers who found pepper spray and a knife on his person, the police said in a statement.

The suspect told officers that he was in Jerusalem to pray. Based on suspicion that the suspect may have been concealing something, the officers detained and questioned him.

“Police interrogators used a number of investigative techniques by which they succeeded in uncovering the true intentions of the suspect,” the statement said. “The suspect illegally entered Israel with a knife and pepper spray in order to carry out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on citizens and/or security forces.”

According to police, the court extended the suspect’s remand until August 20 to allow enough time for a comprehensive investigation.

“There is no doubt that the arrest of the suspect and uncovering of his intentions prevented an attempt to carry out an attack in the Jerusalem area that could have had serious consequences,” the police said.

For now, the proceedings of the investigation are under gag order.

Lone Palestinian attackers have carried out multiple deadly stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis in recent years, several in Jerusalem's Old City.

Last week's thwarted attack comes amid recurrent violence between the Israeli military and the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


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