The 16-year-old Palestinian who stabbed a soldier to death Wednesday had entered Israel illegally in search of work and apparently decided to carry out the deadly attack after failing to be hired by an Israeli employer, Israel Radio reported.
Hussein Rawarda, who resides in a small village on the outskirts of Jenin, stabbed 19-year-old soldier Eden Atias multiple times in the neck on a bus at the central bus station in Afula. Atias was asleep in his seat when he was murdered. Rawarda was arrested by Border Policemen while attempting to flee through the back door of the bus.
The assailant, according to Israel Radio, told his interrogators that he sought to avenge two of his family members who are jailed in Israel for terrorist activities. The killer said he was enraged by the fact that his extended family was not allowed to visit his relatives.
One of Rawarda’s relatives was sentenced to three life sentences for the murder of two Israelis and the attempted murder of two others, the reported continued, while the other was serving a 12-year term in prison for attempted murder.
Following the attack, official Hamas TV station Al-Aqsa reported that IDF soldiers had surrounded the Rawarda family’s home in the West Bank.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza Fawzi Barhoum welcomed the news of the stabbing and called the attack a “natural response to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and against the holy places.” Barhoum added that the attack proved that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were doomed to failure, Israel Radio reported.
Israeli defense officials and analysts have warned in recent weeks that the West Bank may be heading for another violent uprising, citing a rise in the number of rock-throwing and Molotov cocktail attacks.
On Monday, former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said the Palestinians were ripe for a third intifada. However, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that recent attacks were isolated incidents, insisting that “there is no sign of a popular uprising or so-called third intifada.”