Kiryat Gat schools to stay shut Sunday as police hunt attacker who stabbed 4

Search underway for at least 1 assailant believed to be injured when hit by car while fleeing; victims in moderate but stable condition

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

Police search for the assailant or assailants who stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, in Kiryat Gat in southern Israel on November 21, 2015. (Israel Police)
Police search for the assailant or assailants who stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, in Kiryat Gat in southern Israel on November 21, 2015. (Israel Police)

The Kiryat Gat Municipality announced Saturday that schools will not open on Sunday as a manhunt was still underway for at least one assailant who stabbed four people in the city earlier in the day before fleeing the area.

The city’s municipality will operate emergency centers for children at the municipal library, at the Beit Rachel community center at the Clubhouse center, the Walla news site reported.

A 13-year-old girl was among four people stabbed in a terror attack in the city on Saturday evening, Israel Police reported. All four victims were later said to be in moderate, stable condition.

The attacker was injured when hit by a car while fleeing, according to Hebrew media reports.

Police were looking into the possibility that there was more than one assailant.

“It appears as though there was one attacker, but we always investigate the possibility that others were involved,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told The Times of Israel.

Residents of Kiryat Gat were told to stay indoors, police said.

Police search for the assailant or assailants who stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, in Kiryat Gat in southern Israel on November 21, 2015. (Israel Police)
Police search for the assailant or assailants who stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, in Kiryat Gat in southern Israel on November 21, 2015. (Israel Police)

 

During their search, police arrested 10 Palestinians who were in Israel illegally, most of them at building sites in the city.

A Bedouin man in his 40s — mistakenly thought to be the attacker — sustained light injuries after being beaten by a mob. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

In addition to the 13-year-old girl, who was stabbed in the stomach and chest, a 51-year-old man and two women, aged 56 and 44, were also hurt in the incident, according to the Magen David Adom rescue services. They sustained wounds to the upper body.

The man was attacked as he was walking out of a nearby synagogue following Saturday night prayer services, Israel Radio reported.

Medics deliver victims injured in a stabbing attack in Kiryat Gat to Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center on November 21, 2015. (Magen David Adom)
Medics transport victims injured in a stabbing attack in Kiryat Gat to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center on November 21, 2015. (Magen David Adom)

MDA paramedics treated the four victims at the scene before taking them to the nearby Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for further treatment.

Last month, a Palestinian man stabbed an Israel Defense Forces soldier and grabbed his gun in Kiryat Gat. He then fled to a fourth-floor apartment, where he was shot and killed by police.

The soldier was lightly injured in the attack, with wounds to his head, apparently inflicted with a pair of scissors.

Saturday’s attack is the latest in a wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in Israel and across the West Bank.

Since October 1, 18 people have been killed, including an Eritrean national, a US citizen and a Palestinian bystander, in near-daily stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks against Israelis, by mainly Palestinian assailants.

According to Palestinian officials, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed in the same time frame. At least half of them were attackers.

On Thursday, five people were killed in two separate terror attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. It was the highest fatality rate in a single day in the latest surge of attacks.

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