Three people were wounded Monday afternoon in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian in the central city of Rishon Lezion, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv.
Two people — a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s — were in serious condition, the Magen David Adom rescue service said. The third victim, 26, was lightly hurt.
The attacker, identified by authorities as a 19-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron, stabbed the 40-year-old man from behind on a bus on Tarmab Street, got off the bus and ran to the adjacent Herzl Street, where he stabbed the elderly woman and the young man.
As he ran down Herzl, locals realized what was happening and surrounded the man. He entered a beauty products store and stabbed one of the victims inside, then was locked in when a woman fled from the store and closed the door behind her.
Bystanders converged on the store just as police motorcycle units arrived. Police said they prevented the crowd from hurting or even killing the terrorist.
“The terrorist got off a bus, starting running around with a knife,” said one of the people who cornered the attacker. “People shouted, ‘There’s a terrorist!’ I and five other people saw him and chased after him. We [caught him] and started hitting him in the face [while he held a knife]. We tried to stop him, but he managed to stab two people.”
One city council member who was part of the group that stopped the attacker said he was herded into a store and locked in there by sticks placed on the door handles.
Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur confirmed that during the last minutes of the attack, the crowd has cornered the terrorist in a store. He praised the “fast work of citizens and security services, police and Magen David Adom.”
By the time police arrived, the terrorist had only gotten about 150 meters from the initial stabbing, the mayor said.
“We need to show everyone who tries to hurt us that we’re continuing with our routine,” he added.
Eli Bin, the head of MDA, said the two people in serious condition were evacuated quickly to the nearby Assaf Harofeh Hospital. The man who sustained light wounds was also being evacuated to the hospital.
Some people were being treated at the scene for shock, he said.
MDA medics Yoni Ohayon and Ophir Partenki described the scene of the attack: “When we arrived at the scene, we saw on Herzl Street, near the bakery, a woman, about 80 years old, lying on the pavement, conscious, and suffering from a bleeding wound in her upper body. We gave her first aid and evacuated her to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in moderate to serious condition.”
Another MDA medic, Nir Babai, describes treating the second casualty of the attack: “On the sidewalk sat a young man, about 26 years old, who was suffering from a stab wound in the leg. We administered initial care and evacuated him to the hospital.”
A third man wounded in the attack was treated by MDA medics Moshe Pinto and Effi Bar: “We were led to a man, about 35 years old, who was lying in a bus with a stab wound to his upper body. He was fully conscious and told us that he noticed a commotion on the bus when he suddenly felt a blow to his back. We administered initial treatment to his stab wounds and evacuated him to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in moderate to serious but stable condition.”
The attacker was taken for interrogation by police.
Dozens of Palestinian stabbing attacks have targeted Israelis in recent weeks in a wave of violence that also saw clashes between Palestinian protesters and IDF and Border Police forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem.