The 41-year-old police officer stabbed in the back by a Palestinian terrorist Monday evening next to the West Bank Highway 60 junction, just outside of Jerusalem and Ramallah, is in stable condition, a Shaare Zedek Medical Center official said Tuesday.

The officer arrived at the hospital with a 15-centimeter blade still lodged in his back, in serious condition. Although the knife was successfully removed during surgery, hospital spokeswoman Shoham Ruvio said the wound resulted in the loss of a kidney.

“It was a major injury because the knife penetrated his back, stomach and kidney, but he is much better now and will probably be removed from the Intensive Care Unit to a regular department tomorrow,” said Ruvio of the Adam resident. “He’ll be okay and able to function on one kidney – there are many people in the world who do.”

In the meantime, Ruvio said the officer is awake and speaking with guests, including his two children. “He’s much, much better, thank God,” she said.

According to police, the attack was carried out at 5 p.m. near the Geva Binyamin settlement by the unidentified assailant, who stabbed the officer once in the lower back with the large knife before fleeing the scene.

A second officer unsuccessfully fired several shots at the suspect, who is believed to have sought refuge in the Palestinian village of Jaba. Police said Tuesday evening that the suspect remains at large.

“At the moment our search is continuing in coordination with the IDF in Palestinian villages and around the Ramallah area,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. “We hope to make an arrest shortly.”

Monday’s assault came approximately 24 hours after Border Police thwarted a separate knife-wielding terrorist attack at the Ma’aleh Adumim checkpoint Sunday evening, and a bomb was detonated on an empty bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam earlier that afternoon. No one was wounded in either incident.

Rosenfeld said that while all three incidents are considered terrorist attacks, they are presently believed to be unrelated, pending further investigation.

“We are currently carrying out security assessments,” he said, adding that police are asking the public to remain at a heightened state of alert.

“We are asking people to be aware of their surroundings on buses, stores and all public spaces,” he said.

On Tuesday night settlers rallied in the cold and the dark at the Adam junction.

They called on the government to improve security in the area, to halt its negotiations with the Palestinians and to refuse to move forward with the scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners set for December 29.

Israel had promised the Palestinian Authority to release 104 prisoners in four batches during the nine month negotiation process. On Sunday the third such release of Palestinians involved in past terror attacks, is expected to take place.

“We will continue to grow and develop our settlements here,” said Avi Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.

Negotiations based on the release of terrorists only leads to terror attacks, said Ro’eh, adding that “our experience in the past and present has taught us this.”

“We call on the government of Israel, all its ministers and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to set out red lines.

One doesn’t, under any circumstances, hold a dialogue with killers that do not hesitate to harm women, children and the elderly,” he said.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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