Palestinian suspected of stabbing 4 in Kiryat Gat caught

After 5-hour manhunt, police capture suspect hiding in yard of private residence; 2 other Palestinians also arrested on suspicion of aiding terrorist

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 suspected terrorist who stabbed four people, including a 13-year-old girl, in an attack in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat on Saturday evening, was caught by police after a five-hour manhunt.

The attacker was said to be a Palestinian teenager from Yatir, in the Hebron area, who was working in Israel illegally. Police said he was caught hiding in the yard outside a private residence in the city with the weapon in his possession.

He was said to have been injured when hit by a car while fleeing.

The suspect was arrested and transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) for interrogation, police said.

Two other illegal Palestinian workers were also arrested on suspicion of helping the terrorist carry out the assault, police said.

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

Earlier, alarmed residents of the city were told to stay indoors as police searched for the attacker. The Kiryat Gat municipality had announced that schools in the city would stay shut on Sunday as long as the suspect was at large. It later clarified that schools would now open.

The man is suspected of knifing four people, wounding them moderately, in a stabbing rampage that started outside a soccer stadium.

The 13-year-old was stabbed in the stomach and chest, and two women, aged 56 and 44, sustained wounds to the upper body, Magen David Adom reported.

A 51-year-old man was lightly hurt after he was attacked as he was walking out of a nearby synagogue following Saturday night prayer services, Israel Radio reported.

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

MDA paramedics treated the four stabbing victims 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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