More Riots and Another Car Attack in Israel

A second assault-by-car on Wednesday, the third in two weeks, capped another day of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Updated 3:30 p.m.

Following another day of violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters, a Palestinian man drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians on Wednesday, killing one Israeli border guard and injuring 14 other people. The driver, who reportedly exited the vehicle and started attacking others with a metal bar, was shot dead by Israeli forces on the scene.

The incident, which took place near a Jerusalem light-rail station, was nearly a carbon copy of an attack that took place just two weeks ago in which two were killed and a number of pedestrians were hurt by a driver at another light-rail station in Jerusalem. That episode, coupled with near-daily clashes, has fueled fears that a third Palestinian intifada is either imminent or already underway.

According to Haaretz, a Hamas official lauded Wednesday's attack, saying "We praise this heroic operation. We call for more such ... operations."

Also on Wednesday, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel over the escalating tensions in Jerusalem, tensions that have centered (in part) around a holy site known as the Temple Mount (to Jews) and the Noble Sanctuary (to Muslims).

According to Jordan's Petra news, the move came "in protest at the increasing and unprecedented Israeli escalation in the Noble Sanctuary, and the repeated Israeli violations of Jerusalem."

As I noted last week, a rabbi calling for the end of a ban on Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount was seriously wounded in an attempted assassination in Jerusalem. His suspected assailant was later killed by Israeli forces in a shootout, which led to riots and the temporary closing of the holy site for the first time in over 14 years.

In the wake of Wednesday's attack, violence only intensified as rioters in East Jerusalem and the West Bank clashed with Israeli forces across a number of neighborhoods.

The Times of Israel noted the launching of fireworks and the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails by Palestinians in the vicinity of the attacks as well as in the neighborhood of Shuafat, from which the suspected attacker in today's incident, Ibrahim al-Akary, hailed.

In the West Bank, Haaretz is reporting that at least three Israeli soldiers have been wounded in what's believed to be another Palestinian car attack. A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces says the incident is being treated as an act of terrorism.

Speaking at a memorial for former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated 19 years ago this week, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu placed the blame for Wednesday's attack on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying "The vehicle attack in Jerusalem is a direct result of Abu Mazen's incitement."