An Israeli Bedouin man who was attacked by a mob during a terror scare in Kiryat Gat Saturday met on Sunday with the Jewish man who protected him and may have saved his life.
Salem, a Bedouin from the Negev who served in the Israeli military, was attacked by other Israelis soon after an Arab terrorist stabbed four people outside a soccer stadium and then fled the scene, leading police on a 5-hour manhunt.
Shortly after the attack, a group of residents saw Salem and, suspecting him to be the terrorist, assailed him, hitting and stabbing him multiple times.
Resident Eyal Haddad then intervened, defending Salem with his body and preventing the crowd from causing him further injury.
“They threw a cement block at my head and stabbed me nine times, my body is covered in stab wounds. I wouldn’t be alive if not for him,” Salem told Channel 2 news as Haddad visited him at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
“I told them I wasn’t a terrorist but they kept going. These people would have done it to anyone, whoever they found on the street, they’d kill him,” he added.
Haddad wished Salem well. “It’s lucky it ended like this, but what can you do, this is the country we live in,” he said.
Police are investigating the attack on Salem and said they were searching for those involved.
The suspected Palestinian stabber was eventually arrested and was identified as Muhammad Tarada, 18, from the village of Tapuah, west of Hebron in the southern West Bank.
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 is suspected of knifing four people, wounding them moderately: A 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.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.