IDF: Palestinian arrested after failed bid to stab soldier in Hebron
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IDF: Palestinian arrested after failed bid to stab soldier in Hebron

Suspect tries to slash at troops near Kiryat Arba settlement, is taken into custody unharmed

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

Illustrative. IDF soldiers at the Al-Aroub intersection near Hebron, July 18, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Illustrative. IDF soldiers at the Al-Aroub intersection near Hebron, July 18, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

An IDF soldier on Monday night arrested a Palestinian man who had tried to stab him in Hebron, near the Kiryat Arba settlement, the army said.

A group of soldiers spotted the man during a patrol in the Abu Sneina neighborhood of the West Bank city, and asked him to identify himself. The assailant “attempted to stab an IDF soldier,” but missed, the army said. The man was then taken into custody.

“The soldier foiled the attack and subdued the assailant without use of fire,” the IDF said in a statement.

The attacker was handed over to law enforcement officials “for further investigation,” the army said.

Earlier on Monday, Border Police officers shot and killed two Palestinian men apparently attempting to carry out a stabbing attack near the Tomb of the Patriarchs pilgrimage site in Hebron, police said.

One of the knives allegedly used in an attempted stabbing attack near Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site on September 19, 2016. (Israel Police)
One of the knives allegedly used in an attempted stabbing attack near Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site on September 19, 2016. (Israel Police)

They approached the officers before taking out knives and attempting to stab a group of them. In response, the Border Police officers opened fire at the assailants, police said.

The assailants were identified as cousins Muhannad Jamil al-Rajabi, 21, and Amir Jamal al-Rajabi, 17, by the Palestinian health ministry. They were both residents of Hebron.

No Israeli troops were injured.

The Hebron attack was the second of the day, after two police were stabbed outside the Old City of Jerusalem Monday morning.

One victim, a 38-year-old woman, was in intensive care after suffering stab wounds to her neck. The second, a 45-year-old man, suffered moderate wounds. The attacker was shot and hospitalized in critical condition.

Channel 2 television reported Monday night that the policewoman was in very serious condition, having undergone a series of operations on her neck and spine. She is expected to remain in serious condition in the coming days, the report said. Her colleague suffered moderate wounds and was in stable condition.

Six attacks over the weekend — four stabbings, a car ramming and a rock throwing — caught many Israelis by surprise, as the violence that marked 2015 and early 2016 appeared to have waned in recent months, and raised fears that regular attacks could return.

Many of the attacks have been centered around the flashpoint city of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers and Israeli troops.

Officials fear the upcoming Jewish holidays and the recently ended Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday could be behind the raised tensions.

Israeli medics carry an injured man following a Palestinian stabbing attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem, on September 19, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
Israeli medics carry an injured man following a Palestinian stabbing attack outside the Old City of Jerusalem, on September 19, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)

The holiday and the month of September “are always more susceptible to spikes in violent Palestinian activities,” a military official, speaking anonymously, said Saturday.

“The motivation and inspiration to carry out attacks against Israelis remains strong,” the official said.

In the past year, Israel saw a wave of so-called “lone-wolf” Palestinian terror attacks, which has claimed the lives of 35 Israelis and four foreign nationals since October 2015. Over 200 Palestinians have also been killed in the past year, with the Israeli army and police saying that most of those killed were attackers or involved in clashes with security forces.

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