Netanyahu holds security meeting following surge in attacks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with the country’s top security officials to assess the security situation ahead of the upcoming Jewish holidays.

The meeting Sunday evening came after a weekend surge in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces.

Netanyahu “instructed that police forces be increased, especially in the Old City and around the Temple Mount, and directed that determined action be taken against any attempt to violate order there,” according to a statement issued Sunday evening by his office.

He also ordered the Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to continue to prevent government ministers and lawmakers from ascending the Temple Mount “during this sensitive period.”

Netanyahu also called for increased activity against Palestinian incitement on social networks, and for a response team to be established to refute disinformation about Israeli policy on the Temple Mount.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Israel Police Deputy Inspector General Zohar Dvir, Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy, the deputy director of the Shin Bet security service, an Israel Defense Forces representative and personnel from the National Security Council participated in the meeting.

The meeting came as Israeli security forces prevented a stabbing and firebomb attack near a Border Police base in the West Bank. The would-be attacker, who was carrying a knife, two firebombs and a Palestinian flag near the base in the Jericho area, was a minor believed to be 12 years old. The boy admitted to planning to attack Israel security forces, according to the Israel Police.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian woman was arrested near the northern West Bank settlement of Itamar after pulling out a knife while being questioned by Israeli security forces. On Sunday morning an Israeli soldier was stabbed and moderately injured outside the West Bank settlement of Efrat.

That attack followed five others between Friday and Saturday — a car ramming, three stabbings and rock and bottle throwing — that left three Arab assailants dead.

The IDF moved an additional infantry battalion into the Hebron area of the West Bank following the weekend attacks, all of which occurred outside the flashpoint city.

The attacks came after a seeming downturn in the violence against Israelis that began with the Rosh Hashanah holiday last year.

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