The army on Saturday announced that an initial investigation into the stabbing of two Israelis, attacked after visiting a Palestinian dentist earlier in the day in the West Bank village of Azun, was a terror attack.
“An assailant stabbed two Israeli civilians after they had entered Azun in order to receive medical treatment,” the army said Saturday referring to a village east of Qalqilya in the north of the territory.
The victims were a 60-year-old father, Yosef Perez, who was lightly injured and his teen son, Liber Perez, 17, who was badly hurt.
Liber Perez sustained multiple stab wounds to his upper body in the Saturday morning assault, while the father was lightly hurt on the arm.
The two, residents of the southern Israeli city of Ofakim, were visiting a local dentist for treatment along with the father’s brother when they were accosted by a young Palestinian man, said to be a teen, who asked if they were Jews, they said later Saturday.
There were conflicting reports on how they responded. The uncle told Walla news that they replied in Arabic, telling the young man that they were not Jews, while the father told Channel 12 news that they replied that they were indeed Jewish.
Both said they suddenly spotted a knife in the assailant’s hand during the brief exchange.
The father told Walla news that he quickly alerted his brother as he tried to apprehend the attacker but was stabbed in the arm. “My son was afraid for me, he pushed me aside and he quickly jumped on him with his head down. [The attacker] took advantage of the position and began stabbing him in his back,” Perez recounted.
The dentist, both men said, helped save them.
“The dentist helped us; he jumped on him and held him against the wall and hit him while we escaped,” the father said.
“For a year now I have been coming to this dentist for treatment and everything was fine. I never thought something like this would happen,” he went on.
The dentist, who gave his name as Dr. Amin, told Channel 12 in horror that the victims were attacked “inside my clinic… They are my patients.”
The suspect is said to be a 15-year-old local resident. According to Palestinian media reports, Israeli security forces arrested his father on Saturday. Some Hebrew media reports said earlier that the attacker had surrendered to Palestinian authorities.
The injured father and son were brought by IDF medics to the Eliyahu border crossing and from there taken by the Magen David Adom ambulance service to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba for further treatment.
The teen was later listed in moderate but stable condition by the hospital.
Israeli military officials have warned in recent weeks of an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the lead-up to next month’s Israeli elections.
Last month a teenage girl was killed and her father and brother were seriously injured in a terrorist bombing at a natural spring outside the central West Bank settlement of Dolev.
Rina Shnerb, 17, of Lod, was critically wounded in the attack and received treatment at the scene from civilian and military medics before being pronounced dead of her injuries. Her father Eitan, a rabbi in Lod, and brother Dvir, 19, were taken by military helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition.
The army said an improvised explosive device was used in the attack. Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the spring and was triggered remotely when the family approached it.
Earlier in the month, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two Israeli teenage siblings, critically injuring one of them, outside the Elazar settlement in the central West Bank, just south of Jerusalem.
And prior to that, an Israeli religious seminary student, Dvir Sorek, was found stabbed to death outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. Israeli security forces tracked down the suspected killers in approximately 48 hours, arresting Palestinian cousins, Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank.