A female IDF soldier and four other Israelis were injured on Thursday afternoon by a Palestinian man who stabbed them with a screwdriver in Tel Aviv, near the Defense Ministry and IDF headquarters complex.
The assailant fled the scene but was soon shot dead by security forces in the area of Menachem Begin Road.
Initial reports said the stabber attacked the soldier, wounding her in the head, and then made a failed attempt to seize her gun. As he fled the assailant attacked the four others.
The injured soldier’s mother, Shoshi Dahan, who happened to be waiting at a bus stop at the scene, watched in horror as the events unfolded.
Speaking to reporters after visiting her daughter in hospital she said the soldier prevented the assailant from grabbing her gun by falling across it.
“She’s brave, my daughter,” her mother said. “It’s a miracle from heaven, I thank God, that she emerged from this alive.”
Dahan explained she heard someone shouting and then watched as her daughter tried to escape the attacker.
“She ran toward the middle of the road and then he jumped on her and stabbed her in the head,” she recalled. “I immediately understood that it was a terrorist. As soon as he attacked I ran at them, I didn’t care if he stabbed me too or not. It was my daughter.”
A group of soldiers from an air force anti-aircraft unit, who were passing by in a car on their way to a meeting at the army headquarters, saw the attack in progress and sprang from the vehicle to engage the terrorist.
One of the soldiers opened fire at the fleeing attacker, killing him further down the road.
Photographs of the dead terrorist showed him to be wearing a T-shirt reading, “Time heals all wounds.”
Magen David Adom paramedics reported a woman in her 60s, a man and a woman in their 40s, and the soldier in her 20s, were taken by ambulance to Ichilov Hospital im Tel Aviv with upper body wounds. The fifth victim made his own way to the hospital. Two of the victims were later released from hospital.
Police said initial investigations found the attacker was apparently employed on a building site in the area.
“This incident could have caused many more injuries, if he had been able to grab a weapon and open fire,” said Yarkon District police chief Yehuda Dahan, praising the response of the soldiers and the wider public.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said the recent spate of attacks were reminiscent of the Second Intifada, when Palestinian terrorists killed hundreds of Israelis in dozens of terror attacks during the years 2000-2005.
“We remember the Second Intifada,” Huldai said. “We have a wave of terror that we are dealing with. We will deal with these incidents in future too.”
The mayor urged residents of Tel Aviv and neighboring Jaffa to continue their lives as usual and to not fear going to public places and promised to increase security at educational institutes if needed.
“There is no magic solution,” he continued. “We need cool heads… We say to everyone in Israel and Tel Aviv-Yaffo [Jaffa], we will cope and we will overcome.”
Opposition MK and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni was in the area at the time of the attack, and rushed to the scene. She later posted an image of herself embracing a civilian at the site, along with praise for the resilience of Israelis and the security forces.
הסירנות בת״א תפסו אותי ליד הפיגוע. אזרחי ישראל וכוחות הביטחון הם הגיבורים של ימים אלו כשהם מתמודדים עם מצב בלתי אפשרי pic.twitter.com/cgZGuIIBnY
— ציפי לבני (@Tzipi_Livni) October 8, 2015
Hours earlier, a Jerusalem yeshiva student, 25, was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in northern Jerusalem. A second Israeli, apparently a light rail security guard, was very lightly injured after wrestling with the attacker in an attempt to prevent him from fleeing the scene.
Police say the attacker in the Jerusalem incident, a 19-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was neutralized within minutes. He was unharmed and was being questioned by police.
The Jerusalem attack took place just after noon at the light rail stop near the Israel Police’s national headquarters close to Ammunition Hill. The victim, an Israeli yeshiva student, was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem with the knife still lodged in his neck. Doctors rushed him into emergency surgery.
Wednesday saw at least six major terror attacks nationwide with wounded or dead victims amid an escalating wave of violence.