JERUSALEM — An Israeli soldier fatally shot an Arab who stabbed four Israelis with a screwdriver Thursday in the latest eruption of violence that has put Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at odds with members of his government over how to respond.
Seeking to tamp down Palestinian anger over perceived Israeli moves to expand Jewish influence at one of Islam’s holiest sites, Netanyahu on Thursday barred cabinet ministers and lawmakers from visiting the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. But hard-liners within his governing coalition have been pressuring him to crack down on the Palestinians and step up settlement activity in response to the unrest.
In Jerusalem, police arrested a Palestinian teenager who stabbed a 25-year-old Israeli in the neck, seriously wounding him. Later, an unidentified Arab used a screwdriver to wound four Israelis, including a female soldier, in Tel Aviv before he was shot and killed by a soldier.
So far this week, four Israelis have been killed in stabbings and a roadside shooting, while six Palestinians have been killed, including four who attacked Israelis.
On Wednesday, knife-wielding Palestinians attacked Jewish Israelis in three separate assaults, as rock throwing, highway ambushes and clashes with security forces continued to flare in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
A 20-year-old Palestinian, Amjad Algandi from the West Bank, stabbed an Israeli soldier and took his weapon in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat on Wednesday before being chased into an apartment building and shot dead by police, authorities said.
“Only such determined reactions will deter future terrorists from carrying out similar attacks,” said Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s former foreign minister. “It provides culprits with the proper punishment.”
In another attack, a Palestinian man stabbed a 25-year-old Israeli man at the entrance of a mall in Petah Tikva in central Israel. The assailant was subdued by bystanders and apprehended, police said.
“We’re in the midst of a wave of terror,” Netanyahu told reporters Wednesday during a tour of a police command center in Jerusalem. “Civilians are at the forefront of the war against terrorism and must be on maximum alert.”
Netanyahu has been under pressure from Jewish settlers in the West Bank and from his right flank to take tougher measures against Palestinian attacks. He canceled a trip to Berlin to deal with unrest at home.
On Wednesday morning, a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man in Jerusalem’s Old City. The man was wounded, but he drew a handgun and shot and wounded the assailant.
The attack in the Old City, filled with ancient sites holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews, took place close to where a Palestinian assailant killed an off-duty soldier and a well-known rabbi Saturday night.
The Palestinian Red Crescent, which provides emergency treatment and ambulance service, reported that 970 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli security forces since Saturday, including 66 people who were shot.
Leaders of the Israeli opposition in parliament released a statement describing the entire country as a target. They blamed Netanyahu, who “has lost all ability to deal with the wave of terror.”
During the morning commute, drivers on a highway near the Jewish settlement of Har Homa said Palestinians swarmed the road and threw cement blocks at cars. They tried to abduct one woman from her vehicle, drivers said. “They had murder in their eyes,” said an Israeli radio host whose car was attacked.
Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis have recently soared, in part over access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. The cycle of violence has also been perpetuated by deadly Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians, violent demonstrations and harsh Israeli responses, including the shooting of a 13-year-old boy this week.
Branigin reported from Washington.