IDF: Assailant tries to stab soldiers outside Ariel in West Bank, is shot

Military says suspect arrested after attempting to flee scene following failed attack; border guards also arrest Palestinian teen with a knife in Hebron

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

IDF soldiers near the scene of a shooting attack near the northern West Bank Ariel Junction on March 17, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative. IDF soldiers near the scene of a shooting attack near the northern West Bank Ariel Junction on March 17, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

An assailant approached a group of soldiers outside the settlement-city of Ariel and attempted to stab them before running away on Sunday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said.

No soldiers were wounded in the failed attack at the Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank, according to the military.

The suspect was shot in the leg and captured a short distance away from the attempted stabbing. It was not immediately clear who shot and arrested the suspect. Both the IDF and Israel Police said that their forces did so.

“IDF troops chased after the assailant and performed an arrest, which included gunfire, and detained him,” the military said in a statement.

A knife recovered at the scene of what the IDF says was an attempted stabbing attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel on September 6, 2020. (courtesy)

Police said a group of officers saw soldiers chasing after the suspect and joined the effort.

“One of the officers who saw the assailant hiding in some bushes yelled at him to stop a number of times, but when he continued to flee, the officer approached and fired in the air. When he didn’t respond to the calls to stop, he fired at [the suspect’s] legs and subdued him,” police said.

The IDF said it was aware of the discrepancy and was looking into the matter.

A boning knife was recovered at the scene. The identity of the suspect was not immediately released.

A short time later, Border Police officers arrested a Palestinian teenager after he was found in possession of a knife en route to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, police said.

Border guards noticed the teenager acting suspiciously while passing through a checkpoint near the pilgrimage site and detained him for further investigation. During a pat-down the teenage “threw a knife on the floor that had been hidden on his person,” police said.

“The officers wrestled him to the ground and arrested him,” police said, identifying the suspect as a 16-year-old from Hebron.

Police said the suspect was being interrogated to determine his motives for carrying the knife.

The incidents came following an uptick in Palestinian violence in recent weeks.

Last Wednesday, an Israeli soldier and police officer were lightly wounded in a suspected car-ramming attack in the northern West Bank, Israeli officials said.

The week before, a Palestinian worker stabbed an Israeli man to death in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva.

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