Israeli police 'set up East Jerusalem checkpoints'

Israeli police officers were searching vehicles at entrances to Jabal Mukaber on Wednesday. Photo: BBC/EPA.

Israeli forces have begun a major security operation in Arab areas of occupied East Jerusalem, after a surge in attacks by Palestinians.

Police are blocking the entrances to the Jabal Mukaber, where three men accused of killing three Israelis on Tuesday came from.

The Israeli military is also deploying hundreds of soldiers to boost security.

Overnight, Israel's security cabinet authorised police to close or surround "centres of friction and incitement".

It also announced that the homes of Palestinians who attacked Israelis would be demolished within days and never rebuilt, and that their families' right to live in Jerusalem would be taken away.

Shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians have left eight Israelis dead in two weeks. Several assailants and at least 18 other Palestinians have also been killed.

'Recipe for harassment'

On Wednesday morning, a police spokeswoman told the AFP news agency that checkpoints were being set up at "the exits of Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem".

Israeli newspapers later reported that several entrances to Jabal Mukaber had been blocked by police, with neither people nor vehicles allowed in or out.

Several more areas were expected to be closed off by the end of the day.

Human Rights Watch warned on Tuesday night that locking down parts of East Jerusalem would "infringe upon the freedom of movement of all Palestinian residents rather than being a narrowly tailored response to a specific concern".

"The checkpoints are a recipe for harassment and abuse," said Sari Bashi, the group's Israel/Palestine country director, in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it was preparing to deploy six companies to assist police. Three hundred soldiers are already providing additional security under police command.

Bloodiest day

The security cabinet's decisions were made after the bloodiest day in Jerusalem since the latest wave of unrest began in early October.

In Tuesday's first attack, two Palestinian men boarded a bus and began shooting and stabbing passengers, killing two Israelis, police said.

Just a few minutes later, another Palestinian rammed his car into a bus station before getting out and stabbing people.

Police said they shot the three assailants, killing two of them.

There were also two separate knife attacks in Raanana, a town in central Israel.

Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers meanwhile continued in the West Bank after Palestinian activists called for a "day of rage".

Palestinian medics said one Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in Bethlehem.

The BBC's Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the violence, coming at a time when peace prospects seem dim, has fuelled a sense of panic in Israel and raised fears of a new Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

What is happening between Israelis and Palestinians?

There has been a spate of stabbings of Israelis - several of them fatal - by Palestinians since early October, and one apparent revenge stabbing by an Israeli. The attackers have struck in Jerusalem and central and northern Israel, and in the occupied West Bank. Israel has tightened security and its security forces have clashed with rioting Palestinians, leading to deaths on the Palestinian side. The violence has also spread to the border with Gaza.

What's behind the latest unrest?

After a period of relative quiet, violence between the two communities has spiralled since clashes erupted at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site in mid-September. It was fuelled by rumours among Palestinians that Israel was attempting to alter a long-standing religious arrangement governing the site. Israel repeatedly dismissed the rumours as incitement. Soon afterwards, two Israelis were shot dead by Palestinians in the West Bank and the stabbing attacks began. Both Israel and the Palestinian authorities have accused one another of doing nothing to protect each other's communities.

Is this a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising?

There have been two organised uprisings by Palestinians against Israeli occupation, in the 1980s and early 2000s. With peace talks moribund, some observers have questioned whether we are now seeing a third. The stabbing attacks seem to be opportunistic and although they have been praised by militant groups, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said Palestinians are not interested in a further escalation.



২৫ মিনিট আগে|শিক্ষা

‘চলমান মেগা প্রকল্পগুলো শেষ হলে, শিক্ষাখাতে মেগাপ্রকল্প শুরু করা যাবে’

শিক্ষামন্ত্রী দীপু মনি বলেছেন, 'আমাদের যে মেগা প্রকল্পগুলো চলছে, সেগুলোর কাজ শেষ হলে আমি বিশ্বাস করি শিক্ষাখাতে মেগা প্রকল্পের কাজ শুরু করা যাবে। শিক্ষাই হবে আমাদের মেগাপ্রজেক্ট।'