Civilian lightly injured in West Bank stabbing attempt

Israeli man fights off assailant near Gush Etzion Junction until IDF forces disarm, arrest him

Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers in the West Bank on January 17, 2016 (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers in the West Bank on January 17, 2016 (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

An Israeli civilian was lightly injured during an attempted stabbing attack near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut and the Gush Eztion Junction early Saturday morning, the army said.

The attacker was subdued by IDF forces after he tried to stab the civilian. The latter fought off the attacker until soldiers arrived and helped.

The suspect was arrested and taken for interrogation.

The attack came hours after three Palestinians killed Israeli police officer Hadas Malka and injured four others in a stabbing and shooting terror attack in Jerusalem.

Armed with an automatic weapon and knives, the attackers carried out near simultaneous attacks at two adjacent locations. Two attacked a group of police officers at Zedekiah’s Cave and a third stabbed Malka a short distance away at Damascus Gate.

The 23-year-old staff sergeant died of her wounds at Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus. Four other people were lightly and moderately injured in the attack, including a policeman and two East Jerusalem Palestinians. Some reports said the gun used by the attackers jammed, preventing further casualties.

The attackers were identified by the Shin Bet internal security agency as Bra’a Saleh Atta and Usama Atta, both born in 1998, and Adel Ankush, born the following year. They were shot dead by security forces as they carried out their attacks.

Border Police officer Hadas Malka was killed on June 16, 2017 in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate. (Courtesy)
Border Police officer Hadas Malka was killed on June 16, 2017 in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate. (Courtesy)

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Hamas rejected the claim, saying the attackers belonged to Palestinian terrorist organizations.

In the wake of the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revoked the entry permits given to Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to visit their relatives in Israel.

Israel had eased restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians from the West Bank for Ramadan, including permitting daily family visits during Sundays through Thursdays. Netanyahu, however, did not revoke the permission given to Palestinian men aged over 40 from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers, police said.

Israel last month announced that it was relaxing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, including easier access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, issuing more travel permits and allowing some to travel abroad. The measures were similar to those of previous years.

Since September 2015, some 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans, an Eritrean national, a Palestinian man and a British student have been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinian assailants. In that time, more than 270 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.

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