Stabbing, bus attack, wounded man on road, in violent West Bank day

IDF says it has launched a pursuit of the vehicle involved in the incident.

By
December 1, 2014 23:25
4 minute read.
idf gush etzion

IDF soldiers at the scene of a stabbing attack in Gush Etzion, December 1, 2013.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A young Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man on Monday morning, lightly wounding him, as he stood at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank.

It was one of a number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank over a 24-hour period.

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In the evening, Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus on Route 60 between Ofra and Shiloh; no one was hurt.

The Border Police arrested an 18-year-old Palestinian carrying a knife at the Tapuah junction in the morning, and on Sunday night Palestinians threw two firebombs into the backyard of a home in Beit El.

On Monday afternoon, a man was found lying on the road with a serious head wound near the Alon junction in the West Bank. His car was later found at the Tapuah junction and it is unclear whether he was wounded in a terrorist attack or a carjacking.

The incidents come amid heightened violence between Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank and in Israel. On Saturday night, a bilingual school in Jerusalem was torched in a reported hate crime.

Two weeks ago, a terrorist attack on a synagogue in the capital claimed the lives of five Israelis.

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The IDF has been loath to call an upsurge in violence in the West Bank and in Israel a “third intifada,” but it has acknowledged that the number of incidents is rising and that the unrest could continue.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the violence on the Palestinian Authority.

“Peace demands that the Palestinian leadership finally recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people and peace demands that they cease all incitement against Israel and the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said on Monday as he met in Jerusalem with visiting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

“Only this morning, Mr. Prime Minister, we saw in Gush Etzion how incitement leads to wanton acts of murderous violence,” Netanyahu told Vucic.

The stabbing victim, Yehoshua Lorch, 31, told the Israeli media that he had stood at a hitchhiking post when he recognized a driver who had stopped to offer people a ride.

He went over to talk to him when he felt a blow to his back.

“I was kind of in shock. When I turned around, I saw what looked like a black mass moving away from me. It turned out to be the terrorist,” he said.

Security forces saw the incident, opened fire, and seriously wounded the terrorist, who was later identified as Amal Takatka, 20, from the nearby village of Beit Fajar. She was taken to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem. Her mother told the Palestinian media that Amal had just gotten out of a car and was shot for no reason.

Shortly after the attack, IDF troops came to Takatka’s family home in the village and questioned several relatives, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said, adding that they left without making any arrests.

During the questioning, around 100 people gathered outside the house and a disturbance began, during which one soldier was lightly hurt after someone threw a tire at him, but he did not need medical treatment, the IDF said.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said Takatka was not known to the service and had not served any time in an Israeli prison, and that it did not know of any affiliation that she did or did not have with any armed organizations or terrorist groups.

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl said he was relieved no one had been seriously harmed in the attack, and thanked the soldiers for their quick reactions that prevented any further harm.

“I am asking the defense minister to do everything possible to restore quiet and security to the residents of the area,” Perl said.

“The residents of Gush Etzion are determined to continue their lives as normal. We will do everything we can to make sure that they prosper and flourish,” he said.

The attack occurred a short distance away from the site of two other fatal terrorist attacks on Route 367. Last month, Dalya Lemkus, 26, of Tekoa, was stabbed to death in a terrorist attack as she stood at a bus stop by the Alon Shvut settlement. Nine years earlier, Lemkus had been lightly wounded in a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction.

In June, Hamas terrorists kidnapped and killed three teenagers – Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah – as they stood at a bus stop across the road from where Lemkus was killed.

Separately on Monday, a resident of the Jordan Valley, who had been traveling home to the Netiv Hagdud settlement, was found lying on the road with a serious head wound.

His car was later discovered near the Tapuah junction in Samaria. According to Magen David Adom, the man was about 50-years old. He was airlifted in an IDF helicopter to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus. The IDF said it has launched a pursuit of the vehicle involved in the incident. Soldiers assisted paramedics in treating the wounded man, who is in critical condition.

Security sources said it is unclear at this stage whether the man was the victim of a terrorist attack, a carjacking, or a hit-and-run accident. It is possible the man was in a vehicle that had been stolen by an unknown attacker.

Judea and Samaria police said they do not yet know what caused the man’s injury, but have set up checkpoints and are searching for the driver.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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