Big Story: Stabbings at Jerusalem Pride and Fires on the West Bank

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Collection of stories on the big story of the week.

Man Stabs Several People at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

(AP) An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lunged into a group of revelers at Jerusalem's annual gay pride parade and stabbed six people Thursday evening as they marched in the holy city, Israeli police and witnesses said.

The man had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for stabbing several people at a gay pride parade in 2005, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Samri said the attacker, Yishai Schlissel, was arrested. Eli Bin of Israel's emergency service said six young people were wounded in the attack, two of them seriously.

Witnesses told Channel 2 TV that an Ultra-Orthodox man rushed the marchers and stabbed multiple people before Israeli police jumped on him and arrested him.

Yishai Avior told the station that he heard screaming and saw three people on the ground bleeding.

"People ran in every direction to take cover. Where I was standing there were three people on the ground bleeding. There was immense panic and shock," he said.

Thursday's attacker carried out a similar attack that wounded several people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem a decade ago. Media reported he hid in a nearby supermarket and jumped out to attack the march when it passed.

Jerusalem police spokesman Asi Ahroni said there was a "massive presence" of police securing the parade but "unfortunately the man managed to pull out a knife and attack."

The parade continued after the wounded were taken to a hospital, with protesters chanting "end the violence."

Court Orders Jerusalem Gay Pride Attacker Remain in Custody

(AP) An anti-gay ultra-Orthodox extremist suspected of stabbing revelers at Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade appeared in court on Friday and the judge ordered that he remain in custody.

The suspected attacker, Yishai Schlissel, was arrested at the pride parade the previous day, after he brandished a knife and stabbed six people. The court extended his arrest by 12 days as the investigation against him continues, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Schlissel was convicted of a similar attack that wounded several people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem in 2005. Schlissel had been released from prison just three weeks ago after serving his sentence.

Israeli hospital officials said Friday that a 16-year-old girl remained in critical condition after the attack, with wounds to her chest and shoulder. Three others are in hospital but their conditions are not life threatening, while the remaining two have been discharged, hospital officials said.

The Gay Pride Parade was proceeding as planned with party music, Israeli flags and rainbow-clad marchers wending their way through central Jerusalem's barricaded streets, under a heavy police presence, when the attacker entered the throng of people. Within seconds he raised a knife and began stabbing people in the back.

Police pounced on him and arrested him. The crowd's carefree cheers suddenly gave way to screams.

Condemnations poured in against the attack, including from ultra-Orthodox leaders.

After Jerusalem Gay Pride Stabbing, Suspected Extremists Burn Palestinian Child to Death

(AP) Suspected Jewish assailants set fire to a West Bank home on Friday and burned a sleeping Palestinian toddler to death in an attack that drew Palestinian rage and widespread Israeli condemnation. The attack, which threatens to set off another violent escalation, shines a light on the growing lawlessness of extremist Jewish settlers that Israel is either unable or unwilling to contain.

"This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism," said Palestinian official Saeb Erekat. "This is the consequence of a culture of hate funded and incentivized by the Israeli government and the impunity granted by the international community."

Friday's deadly attack comes as part of a larger trend of Jewish radicalization - one day after an anti-gay ultra-Orthodox extremist stabbed revelers at Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade and two days after Israeli authorities indicted two young Jewish activists for an arson attack on a famous Holy Land church. All have been strongly condemned across the Israeli political spectrum, though the recent spate of attacks has raised fears that a radicalized and violent ultraconservative fringe is growing from within the country's hard-line national-religious camp.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack a "war crime" and said the Palestinians would present it to the International Criminal Court as part of their case against Israel.

The extremist attacks, which most recently struck a famous church in northern Israel, have rarely caused fatal injuries, which made Friday's incident, in which 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh was killed and his parents and 4-year-old brother critically wounded, all the more worrying.

Israeli Premier Vows 'Zero Tolerance' for Jewish Extremists

(AP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his government will have "zero tolerance" for Jewish extremists.

At his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel was united against "the criminals among our people" following a pair of attacks that shocked the country. On Friday, suspected Jewish extremists set fire to a Palestinian home in the West Bank and burned a toddler to death. On Thursday, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed revelers at a Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem.

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets over the weekend to protest the attacks and warn against a radicalized and violent fringe growing from within the country's religious community.

Netanyahu says Israel is determined to fight "hate, fanaticism and terrorism from whatever side."

Girl Wounded in Attack on Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Dies

(AP) An Israeli hospital spokeswoman says a teenage girl stabbed by an anti-gay extremist in last week's attack on Jerusalem's gay pride parade has died.

Hadar Elboim of Hadassah hospital said the 16-year-old succumbed to her wounds Sunday and that her organs will be donated.

The girl, identified as Shira Banki, was among six people wounded Thursday by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who had carried out a similar attack on a gay pride parade in 2005.

He had been released from prison just three weeks earlier and had angrily spoken out against the parade after his release.

Jerusalem, known for its rich religious history and tradition, holds a modest parade annually in contrast to the large parade in nearby liberal Tel Aviv, which drew over 100,000 people this year.


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