Thursday 12 December 2019

One dead, soldier hurt, in 'lone wolf' raids in Israel

Paramedics treat an Israeli soldier after he was stabbed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian yesterday. Photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer
Paramedics treat an Israeli soldier after he was stabbed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian yesterday. Photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Robert Tait

Knife-wielding Palestinians killed a woman and wounded three other Israelis, including a soldier, in two separate attacks fuelling fears of another war.

The attacks were part of the widening violence stoked by tensions over a Jerusalem holy site.

The first incident, in which a Palestinian stabbed and critically wounded the soldier at a Tel Aviv train station, brought bloodshed to the Israeli commercial capital that has largely been spared violence since a Palestinian revolt ended in 2005. Police identified the suspected assailant, who was arrested, as a resident of the Palestinian town of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

A police spokesman said that hours later, a Palestinian stormed out of a car to stab three people outside the Jewish settlement of Alon Shvut in the West Bank, killing the woman. The attacker was shot and wounded by a guard. Israeli-Palestinian tensions have festered over access to a Jerusalem compound housing Islam's third holiest site and where biblical Jewish temples once stood.

Police called the incident involving the soldier a "terror attack" which they said was carried out by an 18-year-old Palestinian, named as Nur al-Din Abu Khashiyeh, who was said to have entered Israel illegally. The suspect stabbed the soldier several times on the platform of Hahaganah station in south Tel Aviv before witnesses intervened, causing the attacker to drop the knife and flee. He then escaped with the soldier's gun before police traced him to the stairway of a nearby building, where they found him lying flat on his back in "a state of collapse". He did not resist arrest and was later transferred to the custody of the Shin Bet, Israel domestic intelligence agency.

The soldier was left lying in a pool of blood, according to CCTV footage. He was later taken to Sheba Medical Centre in Tel HaShomer where his condition was described as grave.

It was the fifth Palestinian attack in the past three weeks, all of which have followed a pattern of "lone wolf" operations. But it was the first to take place outside Jerusalem, which has seen a period of prolonged unrest in Arab neighbourhoods since last summer following the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian by Jewish vigilantes.

Addressing a faction meeting of his Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, appeared to pin further blame on Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority [PA] leader, whom he has previously accused of "incitement".

"Those inciting to terrorism don't want us to be anywhere - not Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv - I promise they won't succeed," he said, adding that he would "fight incitement by the PA and radical Islam and fight those calling to destroy us".

Naftali Bennett, the industry minister and leader of the far-Right Jewish Home party went further, calling Mr Abbas "a terrorist in a suit" who should be isolated in the same manner as Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, the 10th anniversary of whose death will be marked by ceremonies on Tuesday.

"Abu Mazen [Mr Abbas] has become the successor of Arafat, in a different guise. He is a terrorist in a suit and we need to treat him accordingly," Mr Bennett said.

In previous recent incidents, two people, including a border policemen, were killed and more than a dozen were injured last Wednesday, after a member of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, drove a truck onto a crowded tram stop near Jerusalem's Old City. A similar incident on October 22 in the city's Ammunition Hill area also left two people dead, including a three-month-old baby. Security forces shot dead the drivers in each incident. On October 29, Yehuda Glick, a far-Right Israeli activist campaigning for Jewish prayer rights to one of Jerusalem's most sensitive religious sites, was seriously injured in an attack. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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