Shin Bet declares: Stabbing in Afula was a terror attack

Victim Shuva Malka being treated in HaEmek Medical Center’s intensive care unit after surgery; security service says investigation is ongoing

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

Police officers respond to a stabbing attack in the northern city of Afula, on June 11, 2018. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)
Police officers respond to a stabbing attack in the northern city of Afula, on June 11, 2018. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

The Shin Bet security service on Tuesday declared a stabbing attack, in which an 18-year-old Israeli high school student was seriously injured in the northern city of Afula the day before, to be a terror attack.

On Monday, Shuva Malka was stabbed on the street in Afula shortly before noon. Her attacker fled the scene.

A short while later, police officers arrested the suspected terrorist, identified as Nour al-Din Shinawi, a Palestinian man in his 20s from the West Bank city of Jenin, who had entered Israel without a permit, police said.

Malka, who was seriously wounded, was rushed to Afula’s HaEmek Medical Center. As of Tuesday, she remained in serious condition and was being treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit after undergoing emergency surgery.

Police began investigating the attack to determine the motive. A police spokesperson on Monday said the working assumption was that this was an act of terrorism, but that they were still looking into other possibilities.

On Tuesday, the Shin Bet declared the stabbing a terror attack, based on initial findings. The security service said investigators were still working to determine a specific motive.

Shinawi did not have a record of being involved in terrorist activities, the Shin Bet said.

The suspected terrorist was brought before a judge in the Nazareth Magistrate Court on Tuesday in order to keep him in custody, police said in a statement.

A judge accepted the police request and ordered Shinawi to remain in police custody until at least June 18.

He did not attend the hearing as he was in the hospital, as officers shot him in the leg during his arrest after he ignored calls to stop running, police said.

Michal (L) and Gabriel Malka, the parents of Shuva Malka, 18, who was stabbed in an apparent terror attack and hospitalized in serious condition in the northern city of Afula, on June 11, 2018. (Screen capture, Hadashot)

Malka, from the northern city of Migdal Ha’emek, was on her way to a matriculation examination in civics, when the stabber approached, her mother, Michal, told Hadashot news on Monday.

Michal Malka said her family now expected an “unequivocal” response from the government to ensure that children could walk the streets safely.

Calling her daughter’s survival “a miracle,” she called on the population to pray for her full recovery.

TOI staff contributed to this report.

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