Israeli diplomat repeatedly stabbed by assailant in Beijing

Incident, still under investigation, occurs after Hamas declares ‘day of rage,’ encouraging supporters to attack Israelis and Jews; US envoy to China expresses support for Israel

A man repeatedly stabs an Israeli diplomat in Beijing, China, October 13, 2023. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A man repeatedly stabs an Israeli diplomat in Beijing, China, October 13, 2023. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Israeli embassy worker in Beijing was attacked on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said, with video appearing to show the assailant repeatedly stabbing the man.

“An Israeli employee of the Israeli embassy in Beijing was attacked today,” a Foreign Ministry statement said, adding that the attack did not take place at the embassy compound.

“The employee is being treated at a hospital and is in stable condition,” the statement said.

“The motive for the assault is being looked into.”

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said he was “shocked” by the attack, offering his “full support” to the Israeli embassy and community in China.

“We are shocked by today’s attack on an Israeli diplomat in Beijing,” Burns said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, adding he had spoken with Israel’s ambassador to China Irit Ben-Abba.

A video posted on social media and geolocated by AFP to an area around a kilometer and a half (roughly 1 mile) from the embassy shows a man brandishing a knife repeatedly stabbing another man, with blood visible on the pavement.

The man with the blade can later be seen leaving the site, weapon in hand.

In another video of the same location, security staff are seen questioning people and making phone calls.

A man then rushes in on a bike to where the blood-soaked and conscious victim is sitting, shouting “ambulance!” to onlookers.

The victim is seen being carried away by several others, likely for medical treatment, to a vehicle out of frame.

During the video, a policeman can be heard saying he is from Xinyuanli police station.

A person who answered the phone at that station told AFP they were “not clear” about the details of the case and referred a journalist to higher-level authorities.

A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard at the entrance to the Israeli embassy in Beijing on October 13, 2023. (MICHAEL ZHANG/AFP)

An AFP journalist at the scene where the stabbing occurred said there were eight plainclothes police officers present.

Three shopkeepers at stores directly in front of the attack’s location said they did not see anything take place.

The stabbing came after Hamas terrorists rampaged through Gaza border communities, killing more than 1,300 people in Israel, mostly civilians, and took about 150-200 hostages in a devastating massacre on Saturday.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said 1,537 Palestinians had been killed and another 6,612 wounded in Israeli airstrikes in the Strip since fighting began on October 7. It did not differentiate between members of armed groups and civilians. Israel said it is targeting terrorist infrastructure and all areas where Hamas operates or hides and that Israeli forces have also killed some 1,500 Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into its territory since Saturday.

A statement on the Foreign Ministry website warned that Hamas had called on “all of its supporters around the world to hold a ‘Day of Rage'” on Friday to “attack Israelis and Jews.”

“It is reasonable to assume that there will be protest events in various countries that are liable to turn violent,” the statement said.

The Israeli embassy, located in a diplomatic neighborhood of northeast Beijing, appeared to be operating normally on Friday afternoon, an AFP journalist saw.

Security personnel asked AFP not to film the site, where no additional policing was visible from the outside.

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond for comment.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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