Suspect in Kiryat Gat stabbing named as Hebron-area teen
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Suspect in Kiryat Gat stabbing named as Hebron-area teen

After 5-hour manhunt, police capture Muhammad Tarada, 18, in yard of private residence; 2 other Palestinians also arrested on suspicion of aiding terrorist

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Medical personnel rush an Israeli man to the emergency unit at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after he was wounded in a stabbing attack in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, on November 21, 2015. (Edi Israel/Flash90)
Medical personnel rush an Israeli man to the emergency unit at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after he was wounded in a stabbing attack in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, on November 21, 2015. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

The suspected terrorist who stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, in an attack in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat on Saturday evening, was identified on Sunday morning as Muhammad Tarada, 18.

Tarada was caught by police late Saturday after a five-hour manhunt, following a stabbing spree in which he stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, officials said.

According to the Shin Bet security service, he is from the Palestinian village of Tapuah, west of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

He had no arrest history and was not known to Israeli security officials, authorities said.

Tarada was working in Israel illegally when he carried out that attack Saturday night. Police said he was caught hiding in the yard outside a private residence in the city with the weapon in his possession.

He was said to have been injured when he was hit by a car while fleeing.

The suspect was arrested and transferred to the Shin Bet for interrogation, police said. Police also published a picture of the knife allegedly used in the attack.

A picture of a knife allegedly used by Muhammad a-Tarada in a stabbing terror attack on Saturday evening, November 21 2015. Four people were wounded in the attack in the southern Israel city of Kiryat Gat. (Israel Police)
A picture of a knife allegedly used by Muhammad a-Tarada in a stabbing terror attack on Saturday evening, November 21 2015. Four people were wounded in the attack in the southern Israel city of Kiryat Gat. (Israel Police)

Two other Palestinians from Tapuah, also in Israel without documentation, were also arrested on suspicion of helping the terrorist carry out the assault, police said.

They were named as Fares Tarada and Rafat Tarada.

During the search, police said they had arrested 10 Palestinians who were in Israel illegally, most of them at building sites in the city.

Earlier, alarmed residents of the city were told to stay indoors as police searched for the attacker. The Kiryat Gat municipality announced they would open schools as normal after Tarada was caught.

The man is suspected of knifing four people, wounding them moderately, in a stabbing rampage that started outside a soccer stadium.

The 13-year-old girl was stabbed in the stomach and chest, and two women, aged 56 and 44, sustained wounds to the upper body, Magen David Adom reported.

A 51-year-old man was lightly hurt after he was attacked as he was walking out of a nearby synagogue following Saturday night prayer services, Israel Radio reported.

A Bedouin man in his 40s was beaten by a mob after being mistaken for the attacker. He was taken to a hospital with light injuries.

MDA paramedics treated the four stabbing victims before taking them to the nearby Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for further treatment.

A high number of attackers in a recent spate of violence have come from the Hebron area, and Kiryat Gat, the nearest Israeli city to the area, has been targeted in the past.

Last month, a Palestinian man stabbed an Israel Defense Forces soldier and grabbed his gun in Kiryat Gat. He then fled to a fourth-floor apartment, where he was shot and killed by police.

The soldier was lightly injured in the attack, with wounds to his head, apparently inflicted with a pair of scissors.

Saturday’s attack is the latest in a wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in Israel and across the West Bank.

Since October 1, 18 people have been killed, including an Eritrean national, a US citizen and a Palestinian bystander, in near-daily stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks against Israelis, by mainly Palestinian assailants.

According to Palestinian officials, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the same time frame. At least half of them were attackers.

On Thursday, five people were killed in two separate terror attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. It was the highest fatality rate in a single day in the latest surge of attacks.

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