An off-duty IDF soldier was killed, and a second man was seriously wounded, in a terror stabbing north of Jerusalem Thursday afternoon.
The attack took place in a supermarket belonging to the Rami Levy chain in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial zone, located southeast of Ramallah in the West Bank.
One of the victims, a 21-year-old, was hospitalized in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center in critical condition, where doctors pronounced him dead after fighting to save his life. The IDF later identified him as Tuvia Yanai Weissman, a resident of the nearby settlement of Ma’ale Mikhmas. He was a soldier in the Nahal infantry brigade, the army said in a statement.
The second victim, 35, was hospitalized at the Hadassah Hospital at Mount Scopus.
The two Palestinian stabbers were shot by an armed civilian, police said. The two, reported to be in serious condition, were also taken to hospitals in Jerusalem for treatment. They were 14-year-old boys from Beitunia near Ramallah, Palestinian reports said.
Channel 10 TV reported that the attackers walked around the supermarket for about 20 minutes scoping out victims before the stabbing. The station spoke with an unidentified civilian who said he opened fire at the attackers. The civilian, who was carrying a gun, said he was inside a prayer area near the supermarket. Soon after services began, he heard screaming, went outside and shot at the attackers.
Israeli police released photographs from the supermarket showing blood splattered on the floor of an isle stocked with laundry detergent on display near a shopping cart.
Paramedics initially treated the wounded at the scene of the attack.
Magen David Adom paramedic Shalom Galil, who administered first aid to Weissman, said: “We found him between the aisles in the supermarket with stab wounds to his upper body. We gave him medical treatment that included stopping the bleeding, hydration and dressing [the wounds].”
Paramedic David Weichselbaum said the 35-year-old victim was “fully conscious with stab wounds to the upper body.”
An eyewitness identified as Uziel told Army Radio that the supermarket was packed at the time of the attack. “I was in the middle of selecting vegetables inside when suddenly we heard screaming. Everyone immediately knew it was a terror attack,” he said. “Within a matter of seconds soldiers and civilians with weapons rushed over… they shot the first terrorist and after 10 seconds or so they shot the second terrorist as well.”
Uziel added that a military medic who was doing his shopping at the time ran over and administered initial medical assistance to the victims.
As for the stabbers, Uziel said: “They both looked very young, children… Everyone was shocked that they were kids — at least, they looked very young.”
The supermarket is located in an industrial zone frequented by Israeli settlers as well as Palestinians. Several attacks have taken place there in recent months.
The outburst of Palestinian violence, which began in September over tensions at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, sacred to both Jews and Muslims, shows no signs of abating. Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule and dwindling hopes for gaining independence.
Since October 1, some 30 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks. At the same time, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed, some 115 of them while carrying out attacks, and others during clashes and demonstrations.
News agencies contributed to this report.