Police prevented 'large-scale' attack in Jerusalem

Deputy chief of Jerusalem police says female officers wounded in Damascus Gate shooting helped to prevent more casualties.

Eliran Aharon ,

Israeli forces at scene of Damascus Gate shooting
Israeli forces at scene of Damascus Gate shooting
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Assistant Commissioner Avshalom Peled, the deputy commander of the Jerusalem District police force, asserted Wednesday that today's shooting attack in Jerusalem would have been more serious if not for the quick actions of police. 

Two female border police officers aged 19 and 20 were seriously wounded in the attack close to Damascus Gate.

"Border Police and Jerusalem District police officers prevented, unfortunately with their bodies, a much more complex and serious attack than what occurred here," Peled declared.

"A team of border policeman were suspicious of several people and sought to make contact with them and a battle ensued in which three terrorists were killed," Peled recounted.

The three terrorists were reportedly armed with concealed Carl Gustav sub-machine guns, knives and bombs when officers approached.

"During initial questioning, the three terrorists were armed with weapons," he continued. "They probably planned a combined attack, [which would have been] more difficult. There is no doubt this is a type of escalation." 

"We believe the police were not the targets as it was their initiative [to approach the terrorists]," Peled added. "I am currently unable to talk about some things. It's currently under an intensive investigation."

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said he is "praying for the welfare of the border policewomen injured in the attempted attack. Thanks to the vigilance and professionalism of police, an attack of a very large scale was prevented. I ask the public to remain on alert."

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Dov Kalmanovich stressed the attack was not the work of individuals, but a coordinated effort on the part of Arab terror organizations to kill Jews. 

"The time has come to act," he insisted. "I have called for this in the past and today my calling is reinforced. We must act against terror and not just in defense. It cannot be that Jerusalem, Israel's capital, will serve as a mecca for terrorists."

Kalmanovich called to deploy military forces to Jerusalem as well as declare full Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish state's capital.