Middle East

Israelis stabbed in three attacks as tensions escalate

Israeli police stand outside a block of flats in Kiryat Gat where a Palestinian was shot after stabbing an Israeli soldier and stealing his rifle (7 October 2015) Image copyright AP
Image caption The attacker in Kiryat Gat took shelter in a block of flats before being shot dead by police

Israelis have been targeted in a series of stabbing attacks by Palestinians, Israeli police say, amid escalating tensions in the region.

A Palestinian man was shot dead by police after attacking a soldier, after a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man who then shot her, police said.

Later, an Israeli man was stabbed by a Palestinian man, police said.

Dozens of Palestinians were also reportedly hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

The violence has prompted the Israeli prime minister to delay a visit to Germany. Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, but his office said he wanted to stay to "closely monitor the situation".

Rifle snatched

In Wednesday's first attack, an Israeli man in his 30s was stabbed from behind in his upper body, sustaining moderate injuries, as he walked near the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex in Jerusalem's Old City, Israeli police said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The stabbing in Jerusalem came days after two Israelis were killed in a similar attack nearby

The man managed to draw his personal weapon and shoot the 18-year-old female assailant from Sur Baher in East Jerusalem, who was taken to hospital in a serious condition, he added.

Hours later, police spokesperson Supt Micky Rosenfeld said, a Palestinian man approached an Israeli soldier after getting off a bus in the town of Kiryat Gat in southern Israel and managed to snatch his rifle in a struggle that left the soldier with light injuries.

The man then fled into a residential building, where he reportedly forced his way into one woman's flat, grabbed a kitchen knife and attempted to stab her after realising that the rifle did not have a magazine. Israeli police then arrived at the scene and shot the man dead.

The assailant was later name as Amjad Gundi, a 20-year-old man from the West Bank village of Yatta.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Israelis gathered outside the shopping centre in Petah Tikva after the third attack on Wednesday

In the third attack, a Palestinian resident of Hebron who is in his 30s stabbed a 25-year-old Israeli man outside a shopping centre in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva, before being apprehended by security forces and taken into custody, a police spokesperson said.

An ambulance service spokesman said the Israeli was taken to hospital with moderate wounds.

In the evening, police officers on patrol in the Abu Tor district of East Jerusalem apprehended an Arab suspect with a knife after he tried to stab them, Supt Rosenfeld said. No injuries were reported.

The attacks come only four days after a Palestinian stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem's Old City. Another Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli teenager elsewhere in the city that day. Israeli police killed both attackers.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Stone-throwing Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in several locations, including Beit El

And last Thursday, gunmen shot and killed an Israeli couple as they drove with their four young children in the West Bank. Israeli police say five members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas have confessed to the shooting.

The Palestinian Red Crescent also reported that dozens of Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli forces on Wednesday.

The most serious clashes occurred in the area of Beit El, east of Ramallah, and in the Nablus, Bethlehem and Jericho regions, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz cited the humanitarian organisation as saying.

On Monday, Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian youths during clashes with protesters in the West Bank. Israeli media quoted military officials on Tuesday as saying one of them, a 13-year-old boy, had been shot by mistake.