Scene of stabbing attack in Beit Shemesh.
(photo credit: SAM SOKOL)
The two Palestinian assailants armed with knives who stabbed an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in Beit Shemesh initially tried to board a bus filled with schoolchildren, police said on Thursday.
A police spokesperson said that authorities received reports of two suspicious individuals who tried to board a transport carrying a group of school kids in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox town.
When a passerby yelled toward the two men asking why they were trying to get on the school bus, they quickly got off, according to police.
Stabbing attack in Beit Shemesh
Shortly after receiving a description of the two men from concerned citizens, police and Border Police units found the suspects near a bus station on Yehezkel Hanavi Street.
Officers saw the two men while they were stabbing a Jewish passerby at the bus station. The police engaged the assailants, shooting them and wounding them.
Knife used in Beit Shemesh attack (Picture: Israel Police)
The two assailants were rushed to hospital in serious condition. A subsequent search revealed that the two men were wearing undershirts bearing the insignia of the Iz a-Din al-Kassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
Police praised the actions of the officers who shot the assailants, saying that "the harming of more innocents was prevented."
The two Palestinians have been identified as Islamist sympathizers who have committed security-related offenses against Israel in the past.
The two men, both of whom are 20 years old, are from the West Bank village of Zurif, not far from Hebron.
One of the assailants was jailed from 2012 to 2014 after he was caught with a knife in his possession at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.