A 14-year-old Palestinian girl has been arrested in occupied East Jerusalem on suspicion of stabbing an Israeli woman in the back, Israeli police said.
The stabbing attack was carried out in the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where several Palestinian families are at risk of being forcibly displaced by Jewish settlers who have claimed ownership of their homes.
Sirens could be heard echoing across the neighbourhood on Wednesday morning as traffic was backed up.
Palestinian media outlets reported a girls’ school in the neighbourhood was raided by Israeli police, who arrested two students, a counsellor, and the school principal.
Lubna Abdeen, a teacher at the school, told the al-Qatsal news website that students were terrified during the raid.
“The occupation forces ordered us teachers to line up the students in the schoolyard, where they proceeded to search them,” Abdeen said.
“They arrested two students who are sisters, the school director Fatima al-Rifai, and the school’s social counsellor.”
Abdeen added that the mother of the arrested students, one of whom is suspected of carrying out the stabbing attack, was also arrested after the family home was raided by Israeli police.
In a statement, Israeli police said they had arrested a 14-year-old suspect with the help of a police helicopter and searches on the ground.
“The suspect in the act, a 14-year-old resident of the area, was located inside an educational institution located hundreds of metres (yards) from the attack,” the statement said.
The woman who was stabbed was walking with her children at the time of the attack, police said.
She was admitted to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus with a 30-cm-long (foot-long) knife in her back, said Director of General Surgery Haggi Mazeh. He described her condition as “mild” and said she could be discharged later in the day.
Israeli police fanned out in Sheikh Jarrah after the 7:30am (05:30 GMT) stabbing. They said they also detained “a number of women surrounding the suspect” at the time of her arrest.
At least seven Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are waiting for an Israeli court to rule on whether they must surrender their homes to Israeli settlers. A crackdown by Israeli police on protests there earlier this year was one trigger for an 11-day escalation in violence between Israel and armed groups based in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israeli law in Jerusalem allows Israeli Jews to reclaim property lost in 1948. No similar rights exist for Palestinians who were forcibly displaced from their homes at the same time.
The stabbing is the latest in a series of “lone wolf” attacks in the occupied territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent weeks by individuals who do not appear to have ties to established armed groups.
On Monday, a Palestinian teen rammed his car into an Israeli checkpoint in the occupied West Bank. A security guard shot him dead, Israeli authorities said.
On Saturday, a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli civilian and attempted to attack police near the Old City. Officers shot the assailant and continued firing after he lay on the ground incapacitated.
Palestinians have accused Israel of using excessive force, while Israel said officers who killed the attacker followed protocol.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move that was not recognised by the international community.