A soldier was stabbed and lightly wounded in a suspected terrorist attack in an Ashkelon residential neighborhood Sunday morning, by an assailant later identified as a Sudanese national.
The soldier was standing at a bus stop near the entrance to the Neot Ashkelon neighborhood shortly after 8 a.m.
when he was stabbed. The attacker then fled on foot.
Another soldier who was on a bus pulling up at the station saw the attack and disembarked, Ashkelon Police head Ch.-Supt. Shimon Portal said.
The soldier took the assault rifle of the wounded soldier and an ammunition clip from another soldier, and he and two civilians began to give chase.
The three men pursued the attacker for several blocks into Neot Ashkelon, with the soldier shooting the man once, and then a second time after he continued running, Portal said.
The civilians and the soldier then apprehended the man who was badly wounded from the two gunshots. Police then arrived and dispersed a crowd of angry locals before they could harm the attacker, Portal said.
Police initially said Sunday morning that the attacker – who was not carrying identification – appeared to be a foreign national, though they couldn’t rule out that he was an Israeli of Ethiopian or Beduin background. He did not cooperate with investigators, and other than mumbling a few words in Arabic, said nothing, according to Portal.
The assailant was later pronounced dead by medical personnel at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
He was subsequently named as Kamel Hasan, 32, from Sudan.
Portal said he was identified at the hospital by the wounded soldier, and that there is no question of mistaken identity.
In October, an Eritrean asylum- seeker named Habtom Zerhom died after he was shot and beaten at the Beersheba Central Bus Station, having been mistaken for an attacker during a terrorist attack at the station.
Regarding the motive for Sunday’s stabbing, Ch.-Supt. Doron Ben-Amo, the spokesman for the police’s Southern District, said it had all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack in that there was no previous interaction between the assailant and the victim, the victim was a uniformed soldier, and the assailant fled the scene.
Witnesses also reported that he tried to steal the soldier’s weapon, Ben-Amo said.
The attack was the second in less than 24 hours in the Southern District. On Saturday afternoon, Shulamit Gonen, a Jewish woman in her 60s was stabbed and moderately wounded while was shopping in the Rahat market.
Her assailant fled on foot and has not been caught. Residents said the attacker was most likely a Palestinian laborer from the West Bank living or working in the Beduin city located north of Beersheba, but police said they have not yet determined who he is.
On Sunday, local leaders from Rahat visited Gonen at her home in Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev where they condemned the attack and invited her to visit their city again soon.
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