Stabbing victim laid to rest

Kinneret Ben-Shalom's funeral held in Rishon Lezion; 4 wounded still hopitalized.

petah tikva stabbing 298 (photo credit: AP)
petah tikva stabbing 298
(photo credit: AP)
A Palestinian man stabbed a 53-year-old woman to death and wounded four people on Sunday morning in an attack on passengers of a Petah Tikva minibus taxi service. The remand of the assailant, Ahmad Kafina, 23, was extended by nine days on Monday morning. He was stopped from wounding more people by 64-year-old Eli Haziza, who ran onto the street from his workplace in an adjacent factory when he was told an attack was taking place. Haziza dug out a plank of wood that was providing support for a young tree growing on the street and used it to disarm the attacker. "I hit him on the legs, he fell and the knife flew out of his hand," Haziza said. "The man with the gun and I held him on the floor. A policeman who was on patrol came and also held him." Kinneret Ben-Shalom, who was married with three adult children, was stabbed in the heart and was taken in critical condition to the nearby Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson campus in Petah Tikva, where she died of her wounds, said Dr. Ilan Koren, the assistant director of the hospital. Ben-Shalom was laid to rest on Monday at 3:00 p.m. at the Shikun Mizrah cemetery in Rishon Lezion, with the funeral procession scheduled to depart from her Petah Tikva home prior to the burial. The other victims were stabbed in the chest, back or stomach, and one of them needed surgery. One woman was treated for shock and discharged soon after arriving at the hospital. Police spokesman Yigal Hadad said Kafina set out from his home in a village near Nablus, although police are uncertain about how and where he entered Israel from the Palestinian territories. During his interrogation he mumbled verses from the Koran and said he had come to kill Jews, although with no organization taking responsibility for the attack, the police are not sure whether Kafina was acting independently or was a member of a group. It later became clear that Kafina, infiltrated into Israel with eight Illegal workers journeying from east Jerusalem. Furthermore, investigators later revealed that the stabber claimed he was depressed following his expulsion from Abu Dis University, citing his mental state as the reason for the attack. Kafina told interrogators that he originally intended to commit suicide on the way to Petah Tikva and that the other passengers prevented him from doing so, Army Radio reported. One of the victims was 30-year-old computer technician Shlomi Shriker from Petah Tikva, who boarded the minibus at the same time as Kafina, said Shimon Shoshan, Shriker's uncle. Kafina and Shriker sat at the back of the vehicle along with a woman passenger, and at about the time the taxi neared the Osem factory on Rehov Jabotinsky, the attacker pulled out a knife and started stabbing his fellow travelers. "The minute Shlomi saw that the man was beginning to stab people, he tried to stop him, but was himself stabbed in his right hand," said Shoshan. "When Shlomi tried to grab the attacker's hand, the man stabbed him in the chest. Shlomi slumped down and the man stabbed him three times in the lower back." The driver stopped the taxi just outside the Caniel Israel Can Company, where Haziza was working in the supplies depot, and Kafina was forced off the vehicle. "I saw a man run towards our guards' hut at the entrance to the factory. He shouted that there was a terrorist, there was an Arab stabbing people," said Haziza. "I ran to the street and saw the Arab with a knife in his hand." One man had a gun and fired warning shots in the air but didn't shoot Kafina, said Haziza. Although by his presence of mind Haziza stopped more people from being hurt, he said he didn't feel like a hero. "I feel like somebody who did what they were supposed to do in an event like this. When you see people with blood and stab wounds you don't think about being a hero," he said. Eyewitness Yair Bashari, who works with Haziza, said he wasn't worried that the terrorist had a bomb belt. "When they come with a knife, they don't have a bomb belt. When he was lying on the ground, you could already see that there wasn't one," he said. Shlomi Shriker's 20-year-old brother Eliran, who is serving in the army and is stationed near Nablus, said he was worried that the attacker came through a checkpoint that his company was manning. On Tuesday or Wednesday last week, a soldier let through an Arab who was behaving in a threatening way, although Eliran said he didn't know where the man went. "I'm thinking that it was the Arab who got through our checkpoint and came here," he said. The knife attack in Petah Tikva is the latest in a series of terror-related stabbings over the past few months. In August, British yeshiva student Shmuel Mett was stabbed to death and his classmate seriously wounded in an attack in Jerusalem's Old City. In October, a 37-year-old mother of five from the Balata refugee camp stabbed a woman soldier at a checkpoint south of Nablus, after which the assailant was shot dead. In November a yeshiva student was stabbed and lightly wounded in Jerusalem, and in December, a 16-year-old Palestinian tried to stab a Border Police officer at the entrance to the IDF District Coordination Office in Jenin, but was wrestled to the ground. On December 8, Sgt. Nir Kahane, 20, was killed when was stabbed in the neck while examining the bag of a Palestinian man at the Kalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem.