Jordanian stabs Israeli police officer, shot dead: police

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Jordanian citizen stabbed and wounded an Israeli police officer who then shot him dead in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday, Israeli police said, the latest in a string of street attacks.

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Police spokeswoman Luba Simri said the officer was walking down a street when he was attacked by a 57-year-old Jordanian who had arrived in Israel for a visit a few days earlier.

“The terrorist rushed toward him, whipped out a knife that he had in his possession, stormed him and began stabbing him. The police officer responded with determination and in a professional manner, managed to activate his weapon and neutralized him,” Simri said.

Ten seconds of security camera footage released by the police appeared to show a man, knife in hand, lunging toward a policeman falling backwards onto the ground, then jumping on him while wielding the knife and making stabbing motions.

Israel’s ambulance service Magen David Adom said the police officer was not severely wounded.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al Momani disputed the Israeli account of the incident, which he described as an “ugly crime.”

“The Israeli government as the occupying power bears responsibility over the shooting of a Jordanian citizen in occupied eastern Jerusalem today that caused his martyrdom,” al Momani told Jordanian state news agency Petra.

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that Israel expected Jordan to condemn the attack.

There has been sporadic violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories since October 2015, although it has not often involved Jordanians. Jordan and Israel signed a peace accord in 1994.

Thirty-seven Israelis, two American tourists and a British student have been killed in the street attacks which have slowed in recent months, though not stopped.

At least 244 Palestinians have been killed since the violence began. Israel says at least 164 of them were carrying out stabbings, shootings or car ramming attacks. Others died during clashes and protests.

Israel says the Palestinian leadership is inciting the violence. The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, denies incitement and says that in many cases Israel has used excessive force in thwarting attackers armed with rudimentary weapons.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories that Israel captured in the 1967 war, for a future state. Peace talks between the sides broke down in 2014.

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to try and broker a historic peace deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is due to travel to the Middle East this month and meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on May 22-23.

Additional reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman; editing by David Clarke