Uncle says he was defending himself, has behavioral problems

Stabber shot dead near hospital, having pulled knife on doctor, in shopping mall

Mustafa Yunes dies after stabbing guard at Sheba Medical Center; TV: He pulled knife in clinic, then in shopping center when told to wear mask, and third time when stopped at exit

Medics at the scene of a stabbing outside the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on May 13, 2020. (Magen David Adom)
Medics at the scene of a stabbing outside the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer on May 13, 2020. (Magen David Adom)

In an incident that reportedly involved an argument with a doctor and a second row over wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, a man armed with a knife stabbed a security guard outside an Israeli hospital early on Wednesday afternoon, lightly injuring him, and then was shot dead.

According to a Channel 12 TV report, the incident at Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center began when Mustafa Yunes got into an argument with his doctor during an appointment at a clinic there. He pulled a knife on the doctor and threatened her, the TV report said, but then left her office, and she did not report the incident.

He then got into a second argument over his refusal to wear a mask, Channel 12 said. Yunes, 26, from Arara in northern Israel, reportedly entered a shopping center near the hospital, and was approached by civilians who saw that he was not wearing a mask and asked him to do so. An argument developed and security guards came to the scene, at which point Yunes again pulled out his knife, but then put it away again. He then attempted to leave the hospital complex with his vehicle.

Security guards at the exit had been alerted that a potentially dangerous man with a knife was heading their way, and they stopped Yunes’s car for inspection. At this point another argument developed and Yunes pulled out his knife a third time. He apparently stabbed the guard before being shot fatally, the TV report said.

Mustafa Yunes of Arara, who was shot dead after stabbing a security guard at Sheba Medical Center, May 13, 2020 (Courtesy)

Though officials initially suspected terrorism, they now believe the incident stemmed from “the behavior of a violent man,” Channel 12 said.

Yunes’s uncle, Dr. Isam Yunes, told Ynet his nephew was “a quiet man who came to receive treatment. He suffers from epilepsy and behavioral problems” for which he had received psychiatric treatment. “They told him to get out [of the car] and jumped at him. So he took out a knife to defend himself. I’d defend myself too if five security guards jumped at me,” Dr. Yunes said.

Guards at the scene will be questioned, and their firing multiple bullets at Yunes as he lay on the ground will be investigated, the TV report said.

The assailant was fatally wounded, succumbing to his injuries in the hospital, the medical center said.

“It seems that the motivation was criminal,” police said soon after the incident, without elaborating.

Graphic video footage from the scene, which was released by Channel 12 news, showed at least three security guards opening fire at the assailant as the stabbing victim — the deputy head of hospital security — scrambled away after being stabbed.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, the stabbing victim, who is roughly 30 years old, sustained light stab wounds. He was fully conscious and walking around when medics arrived.

Both he and his attacker received treatment at the scene before being taken into the hospital for further care, MDA said.

“We saw two injured people: a man who was approximately 30 years old suffering from a stab wound, walking around, and next to him, there was another injured person, who was unconscious. We put the stabbing victim into an ambulance and took him to the emergency room. We carried out CPR on the man who was unconscious, had no pulse and was not breathing; he was also taken to the hospital in critical condition,” a medic said.

A short time later, the Sheba Medical Center said the assailant had succumbed to his wounds.

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