Police say Tel Aviv ‘stabbing attempt’ false alarm

Massive manhunt called off after officials determine soldier saw homeless man and got spooked

Police launched a massive manhunt in Tel Aviv after a soldier said an assailant had attempted to stab him, then called off the search hours later, saying the episode appeared to be a misunderstanding.

Police initially said a soldier had narrowly escaped being stabbed by a person in a car who called him over, but later said the soldier had seen a homeless man with a knife and gotten spooked.

Following the false alarm, dozens of police swarmed Tel Aviv to search for the perpetrator, and officials reportedly locked down schools, saying the incident was likely terror-related.

“After a situation assessment, checking security cameras and located eyewitnesses, this is not a nationalistic attack,” police spokesperson Luba Samri said. “It was apparently sparked by a homeless man who passed by the area. Police are continuing to investigate the incident.”

The incident occurred at the intersection of Rokach boulevard and Ibn Gabirol boulevard, police said. The soldier apparently became spooked after seeing a man with what he thought was a knife and ran to his base.

Police were still searching for the homeless man. However, even if the man is found, no laws appeared to have been broken in this incident, and he will likely not be arrested or charged with any offense, Samri said

It was not clear why police initially reported a car had been involved.

Tel Aviv has been on edge since a terror attack less than a week ago in which a Palestinian man went on a stabbing spree, killing an American tourist and injuring 10 others.

The city, considered the country’s financial and cultural heart, has seen a number of attacks during a nearly six-month round of violence, including a deadly shooting on New Year’s Day that was followed by a several-day manhunt that shut down some parts of the city.

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