Israeli-Palestinian violence escalates

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Faced with escalating violence, including at least five fresh attacks Tuesday, Israel is considering new security measures, including making its easier for Israelis to buy firearms.

Gilad Erdan, minister of public security, was contemplating a number of options, police said. Among security steps were closing off the Palestinian suburbs of east Jerusalem and relaxing gun licensing.

In the Tuesday incidents, three people died, authorities said.

Much of the violence bubbled up around Jerusalem, the scene of ongoing tension over a disputed holy site in the Old City.

Tuesday’s violence included a stabbing and a shooting took place on a bus in the Armon Anatziv area of Jerusalem, police said.

A 60-year-old man and another passenger were killed and at least 10 people were taken to the hospital for treatment as a pair of attackers lashed out with a gun and a knife.

Police said the attackers were “neutralized,” one was killed and the other was taken to the hospital.

Hamas praised the attack.

“The Hamas movement blesses the heroic operations in Jerusalem and hails the heroes who executed them,” the Hamas Movement’s Twitter account said.

In the city’s ultra Orthodox Malkei Israel area, a man drove into a bus stop, running over three people. He then got out of the car with a knife and stabbed three people. No other details were immediately available.

Another incident took place near Tel Aviv. The attacker, a 22-year-old resident from east Jerusalem, stabbed a man waiting there, police said. Others at the stop held the person with the knife until authorities arrived.

The victim was lightly wounded, according to police. The attacker was also injured.

A fourth incident — also a stabbing — took place nearby in Raanana, authorities said. According to police reports, a 28-year-old Palestinian man from east Jerusalem stabbed four people with a knife. One person suffered a serious stab wound to the neck. The others were lightly wounded.

As a group of people chased the attacker, a taxi driver joined in and knocked him over with his car. He was overpowered and police arrested him.

Violence was also reported between Palestinians and Israeli forces at the Erez border crossing into Gaza. Palestinian medical sources say a man was shot in the head and killed.

A fifth attack occurred when a man drove into a crowd at a bus stop in Jerusalem’s Orthodox Malkei Israel area. The driver also go out a stabbed at least eight people, emergency medical services said.

A 40-year-old man was killed. Eight others were wounded.

A third intifada?

Since the beginning of this month, the region has been wracked by violence, resulting in both Palestinian and Israel deaths.

Some have suggested the violence represents the start of the third intifada, or uprising, by Palestinians. But others have dismissed that label, saying the unrest is simply the consequence of the absence of any move toward peace.

“We’ve tried negotiations and it didn’t work. So now we will fight,” one Palestinian youth in the West Bank city of Hebron told CNN as thick smoke rose from flaming tires.

Amid the continuing attacks, about 1,600 reserve border police officers have been mobilized in Jerusalem and throughout Israel, the Prime Minister’s office said over the weekend.

The additional force will continue as necessary as “a primary preventive and deterrent measure,” the statement said.