Soldier Shot To Death by Infiltrator; Two Stabbed In Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) _ An Israeli reserve soldier was shot to death today by a man who infiltrated from Jordan, and a Palestinian man stabbed two paramilitary border policemen in Jerusalem’s old, walled city, authorities said.
The fatal wounding of reserve Staff Sgt. Pinchas Levy, 37, occurred at about 2 a.m. near Adam’s Bridge, a crossing point north of the town of Jericho that links the occupied West Bank to Jordan
He was the second soldier slain in the area in a week.
The policemen stabbed in Jerusalem were both slightly wounded, police spokesman Aharon Elhayani said.
It was the latest in a series of stabbing attacks in Jerusalem since the Oct. 8 Temple Mount shootings, in which police opened fire on Palestinian stone-throwers, killing 20 Arabs and wounding 140.
A police spokesman said today that one of the Israeli police officials criticized for his handling of the Temple Mount riots has been promoted in rank and given a new administrative post.
The official, Assistant Inspector General Arye Bibi, has been promoted to full inspector general and will become chief of personnel at national headquarters, said spokesman Ron Ishayahu.
He had been in charge of the Jerusalem area.
The move follows reports Bibi would be shunted aside for his handling of the Temple Mount situation. The English-language Jerusalem Post said Bibi had turned down an offer to be second-in-command in Tel Aviv and threatened to quit the force before he was given the post at national headquarters.
A government investigation into the Temple Mount killings concluded earlier this month that police were justified in firing live ammunition.
But it criticized police commanders, including Bibi, for failing to anticipate trouble and for not being on the Mount when rioting broke out.
The army said in a statement that Levy, of the Jewish settlement of Givon in the West Bank, was killed by a man in civilian clothes who opened fire with a pistol. It said the attacker was captured and was being interrogated.
Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Nachman Shai told army radio that the attacker was a 17-year-old Jordanian. He said the man was sent by the Moslem fundamentalist Islamic Jihad movement and the PLO’s Fatah faction.
Israel radio said it was the seventh infiltration from Jordan this year.
On Thursday, an Israeli army captain and a Jordanian guerrilla were killed in a firefight after five Jordanians infiltrated into the same area. Four of the infiltrators were said to be Jordanian police.
Army officers said they believed the five infiltrators planned an attack in Jerusalem to avenge the Temple Mount incident.
On Monday, the army said three Jordanian teen-agers armed with knives were captured three weeks ago after they infiltrated into Israeli-occupied territory. News reports said they also planned a revenge attack for the Temple Mount killings.
The army did not say why the incident was not disclosed earlier.
The attack in Jerusalem’s old city occurred near an apartment owned by Israel’s housing minister, Ariel Sharon. The minister was not believed to be home at the time, police said.
One of the policemen was stabbed in the neck, the other suffered a hand wound when he grappled with the assailant, border police commander Yossi Tovias said.
The policemen were not wearing flak jackets, which have been issued to many police as protection from the current wave of stabbing attacks, because they were inspecting police posts, Tovias said.
Tovias identified the attacker as ″a local,″ a phrase usually used to describe a Palestinian.
Israel radio said the attacker was believed to be an Arab in his early 20s. It quoted police as saying he was dressed in white and wielded a newly purchased kitchen knife.
Police spokesman Aharon Elhayani said ″dozens″ of Palestinians were detained for questioning.
Police closed the gates to the Old City, but later reopened them, witnesses said. They also ordered Arabs street venders to leave the area.
On Saturday, a policeman was stabbed in the back by an Arab youth on a street near the Old City. He later underwent surgery for repair of damage to his heart and a major artery.
Last Thursday, an Arab youth was wounded after he tried to grab a rifle from an Israeli trooper.