Police officer killed after being stabbed by a Palestinian and hit by own fire

In a second attack in Jerusalem within hours, a police officer was killed in a knife attack at a checkpoint near the entrance to the Shuafat refugee camp Monday night, police officers and medics said.

According to a police spokesman, the Border Patrol officer and another civilian security officer were boarding a bus arriving at the checkpoint to question passengers bound for Jerusalem during a routine check when a teenage suspect pulled out a knife.

Police said the Palestinian managed to stab the officer and injure him.

The civilian security guard then opened fire on the suspected stabber on the bus, but accidentally hit the border police officer.

The suspected stabber, identified as 13-year-old Muhammad Bassel Fathi Zalbani, a resident of Shuafat refugee camp, was arrested. He was not injured by the shots.

The officer was taken to Hadassah’s Mount Scopus Hospital in the capital in critical condition, with injuries from both stabbing and gunshot wounds.

He later died of his wounds and was designated Staff Sgt. Asil Sawaed, 22.

Sawaed, from the northern Bedouin village of Hussniyya, was a non-commissioned officer after completing his compulsory service.

A knife used in a Palestinian stabbing attack on border guards on a bus at the entrance to Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, February 13, 2023. (Israeli Police)

The checkpoint leading to the Shuafat refugee camp was closed while police forces conducted operations in the area, law enforcement officials said.

Clashes broke out at the camp as police forces arrested the knifeman’s parents and brother, police said.

Rocks were hurled at officers, police say, and at one point a car is said to have rushed toward them. The officers shot the car, the driver was injured. His condition was not immediately clear.

The attack came just hours after a 14-year-old Palestinian, also from the Shuafat refugee camp, allegedly stabbed and slightly injured an Israeli teenager in Jerusalem’s Old City.

A spokesman for the Hamas terror group hailed the two attacks in Jerusalem as “heroic operations” and in response to Israel’s decision to legalize nine West Bank outposts.

“Our youth will face the aggression of the occupation and the fascism of the extremist government with courage and violence,” the spokesman said.

The stabbings came as tensions ran high in the region, particularly in Jerusalem, following a spate of Palestinian terrorist attacks in recent weeks that have left 10 people dead and several others seriously injured.

Three Israelis, including two brothers aged 6 and 8, were killed in an autoram attack in Jerusalem on Friday.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said he had ordered police to prepare for a major operation in east Jerusalem beginning this week after Friday’s attack, although other government officials said he did not have the authority to do so himself .