Palestinian men armed with knives and a gun killed at least three people and wounded several others in a string of attacks in Jerusalem and near Tel Aviv on Tuesday, police said, on a "Day of Rage" declared by Palestinian groups.
With the worst unrest in years in Israel and the Palestinian territories showing no sign of abating, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his security cabinet to discuss what police said would be new operational plans.
Officials said Israel\’s public security minister was considering whether to seal off Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, home of many of the assailants of the past two weeks, from the rest of the city.
Unlike their brethren in the occupied West Bank, Palestinians in East Jerusalem can travel in Israel without restrictions. Israel annexed East Jerusalem after a 1967 war in a move that is not recognized internationally.
In Jerusalem, two Palestinians shot and stabbed passengers on a bus, killing two and injuring four, police said. One of the assailants was killed, an ambulance service spokesman said, and the other captured.
Minutes later, a Palestinian rammed his car into a bus stop in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of the city, police said. A surveillance video showed him getting out and hacking at pedestrians with a cleaver until he was shot dead by a passer-by.
One of the Israelis he had attacked died and six others were wounded, police said.
In all, seven Israelis and 28 Palestinians, including 10 alleged attackers and eight children, have died in almost two weeks of street attacks and security crackdowns.
The violence has been stirred in part by Muslim anger over increasing Jewish visits to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Islam\’s holiest site outside the Arabian Peninsula.
With Israel\’s Jewish population increasingly afraid for its safety, merchants reported that canisters of pepper spray for self-defense were selling out.
"We don\’t know what to do, or where to walk," Avi Shemesh, a witness to the first attack, told reporters. "They are Israel-haters and they need to be eliminated."
In Raanana, just north of Tel Aviv, a Palestinian man stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli on a shopping street during the morning rush hour, officials and witnesses said.
Amateur video distributed by police showed several men kicking and beating the alleged assailant as he lay on the ground. The ambulance service said he had been seriously hurt.
A shopkeeper said that, after hearing shouting, he had grabbed a heavy wooden umbrella and run outside to confront the assailant.
"He started stabbing the guy. I hit him a couple of times and kicked him and the knife flew out of his hand," the store owner said. "I wish I had a gun – I would have shot him."
Within an hour, another Palestinian stabbed and wounded four people in Raanana, police said.
And in the parking lot of an Ikea furniture store in northern Israel, a Jewish man, who police said had intended to carry out a revenge attack, stabbed and wounded a fellow Jew, mistaking him for an Arab.
The main Palestinian factions, including the Western-backed Fatah movement and the militant Hamas group, had declared Tuesday a "Day of Rage" across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, accusing Israel of "escalating its crimes against our people".
The leaders of Israel\’s Arab community called for a commercial strike in their towns and villages.