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Shin Bet says Sudanese stabber was influenced by Islamic State

Kamel Hassan Mohammed, shot after attacking soldier at Ashkelon bus station, said to have photos of IS terrorists on phone

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Medical personnel rush Kamel Hassan Mohammed into the emergency unit at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after he stabbed a soldier in the southern city, on February 7, 2016. (Edi Israel/Flash90)
Medical personnel rush Kamel Hassan Mohammed into the emergency unit at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after he stabbed a soldier in the southern city, on February 7, 2016. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

The Shin Bet security agency said Thursday that a Sudanese man killed while carrying out a recent stabbing attack had been influenced by the radical Islamic State group.

Kamel Hassan Mohammed, 32, stabbed and lightly injured a 20-year-old soldier near the Ashkelon bus station last month before fleeing the scene. Another soldier who witnessed the attack gave chase and shot Hassan when he ignored calls to halt.

Mohammed was rushed to a hospital in serious condition and later declared dead.

The Shin Bet said that the investigation into the incident, carried out in conjunction with the Israel Police, concluded that the attack was inspired by the brutal actions of the IS terror group.

“Among other things,” read a statement, “it was found that Hassan was a devout Muslim and had photos of Islamic State operatives from around the world on his phone.”

Palestinian media reports at the time of the attack identified Hassan as a “martyr,” a term usually reserved for Palestinians killed in the conflict with Israel.

Unlike many of the attacks carried out by Palestinian assailants during the unrest across the country and the West Bank in recent months, the police did not officially announce a motive behind the stabbing.

Representatives of the Sudanese community said he had been suffering from untreated mental health issues and was not a terrorist

Twenty-nine Israelis and three non-Israelis have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. About 170 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.

Foreign nationals have not previously participated in such attacks.

Mohammed crossed into Israel illegally in 2008. He was picked up by law enforcement officers and taken to the Holot semi-open detention center in April 2014.

Detainees at the entrance to Holot. (photo credit: Nehama Shimnovic)
Detainees at the entrance to Holot. (photo credit: Nehama Shimnovic)

The Shin Bet said he escaped from Holot a few months later and had been living in the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

A large number of illegal immigrants have arrived in Israel from Sudan through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Official figures show 45,000 illegal immigrants are in Israel, almost all from Eritrea and Sudan. About two-thirds are Eritrean.

In October, an Eritrean migrant worker who was mistaken for an Arab attacker died after he was shot and brutally beaten at a bus station in the southern city of Beersheba.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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