Three people suffered gunshot and stab wounds after an assailant opened fire on a bus and stabbed a man at an open market in Petah Tikva on Thursday afternoon.
Police said an 18-year-old from the Nablus area opened fire on the bus at the entrance to the market on Baron Hirsch Street around 4:45 p.m. and then ran to a sewing shop and stabbed someone before he was stopped by civilians and later arrested by police. The suspect was captured on Montefiore Street with a weapon in his hand, according to Central District police spokesman Ami Ben David. The suspect was transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning.
Despite a police gag order on the identity of the suspect, numerous media reports identified him as Sadeq Abu Mazen, a teenage resident of a village on the outskirts of Nablus. According to reports, he had praised past terrorist attacks in Israel on Facebook.
Magen David Adom said its emergency responders evacuated a man and a women in their 50s and woman in her 30s with gunshot wounds to the lower body. Another man in his 40s was evacuated in stable condition with stab wounds to the neck and ear, which he suffered while trying to apprehend the assailant. The injured were taken to the city’s Rabin Medical Center. Two others were wounding in the chase and capture of the terrorist.
Leon Itkin, who was in the sewing shop when the assailant entered, said the attacker tried to shoot people in the room, but was stopped by civilians.
“I was in the store when suddenly there’s a terrorist with a weapon. He tried to shoot, but he was stopped,” Itkin said, according to the Walla News website. Itkin added that the attacker then grabbed a screwdriver and stabbed one of the men who was attempting to apprehend him.
Video of the aftermath shows the assailant being taken into custody by police, surrounded by a crowd of people.
United Hatzalah EMT Zev Topper stated that one of the patients treated had been beaten by passersby who mistook him for the assailant. The patient said that he screamed, “I am not the terrorist, I was chasing the terrorist. If I die, I die protecting the State of Israel.”
Gal Dover, another paramedic with United Hatzalah who responded to the incident, said, “As I was treating a woman for gunshot injuries to her legs, the dispatch center informed me and my fellow EMS first responders that there were other injured people the next street over. After I finished treating the woman, I ran over to the other scene, where I treated a man for a stab wound and head injury.”
In the wake of the attack, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called on the secretary-general to condemn the attack and the Security Council to convene an emergency session on Palestinian incitement.
“This attack is a direct result of the ongoing incitement of Palestinian leadership,” he said. “The international community must take decisive and immediate steps against this incitement before it leads to more bloodshed.”
President Reuven Rivlin praised the citizens who helped halt the terrorist during the attack.
“The resourcefulness and courage of the citizens of Israel prevented a devastating attack again today in Petah Tikva,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Alongside the security forces who work day and night to allow us to live our lives, taking responsibility for one another was and will be part of the secret of our strength.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.