Terror Rampage Leaves One Dead, at Least 13 Wounded Across Israel

American tourist was killed and 10 wounded, five seriously, in stabbings in Tel Aviv-Jaffa; two Border Police wounded, one critically, by live fire in Jerusalem; man stabbed in Petah Tikva.

Police stand near the body of the assailant at the scene of the Jaffa stabbing attack, March 8, 2016.
Police stand near the body of the assailant at the scene of the Jaffa stabbing attack, March 8, 2016. David Bachar

Israel was engulfed by a wave of terror attacks on Tuesday, with at least one person killed and 13 wounded in attacks that ranged from Jerusalem to Jaffa and Petah Tikva. Four of the attackers were killed.

The Israel Defence Forces announced on Tuesday night that it was imposing closures on the West Bank villages of Zawia and Auja, the hometown's of two of the attackers 

A tourist from the U.S. was killed and 11 people wounded, four of them seriously, in two stabbing attacks in Jaffa Port and the area of Tel Aviv bordering on Jaffa on Tuesday evening. The attacks were carried out by a single assailant.

All the wounded were evacuated to hospitals in the Tel Aviv area. The attacker, Bashar Masalha, 22, from Auja, near Qalqilyah in the West Bank, was killed.

According to the police, the assailant stabbed three people at the Jaffa port, and then ran to the promenade and stabbed four more near the Manta Ray Restaurant. He then fled toward Tel Aviv, but was shot dead by police officers. No other assailant is suspected of having been involved in the attack.

Police pursue Jaffa assailant

"When I got to the port, I saw a woman of about 30 in a serious condition with stab wounds to her upper body," said Magen David Adom paramedic Hagai Natani. "Near her was a wounded man lying on the ground. We gave first aid to both of them before they were evacuated by ambulance to hospital."

While the Jaffa attack was unfolding, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in Israel for a two-day visit, was less than a kilometer away sitting with former President Shimon Peres in the Peres Peace Center in Jaffa. The VP issued a strong condemnation of the attacks, offered his condolences to the family of the American citizen murdered in the attack, as well as his wishes for a full and quick recovery for the wounded.‎

Israeli Border Police stand guard following the shooting attack in Jerusalem, March 8, 2016.
AFP

Less than an hour before the Jaffa attacks, two Border Police officers were seriously wounded in a shooting attack on Salah A-Din Street near Jerusalem's Old City. One officer was wounded in the initial round of firing by the attacker, while the second was wounded during the pursuit after the gunman.

The two officers – one, aged 49, in critical condition and the other, aged 31, in moderate condition – were treated at the scene before being evacuated to hospital.

The gunman, who was killed at the scene, was identified as Fouad Tamimi, 25, from Issawiya in East Jerusalem, who had no previous security-related record. The weapon used in the shooting, a Carl Gustav rifle, was discovered at the scene of the attack.

It was the third live fire incident in the Damascus Gate area since the latest wave of violence began last October.  

Stabbed with his own knife

At virtually the same time as the Jerusalem attack, a man was stabbed in a terrorist attack in Petah Tikva, outside Tel Aviv.

Scene of suspected terror attack in Petah Tikva.
MDA

The victim, an ultra-Orthodox man in his 40s, managed to overcome the attacker and, with the assistance of a shop-owner, stabbed him to death. The victim, who sustained moderate wounds to the upper body, was rushed to Beilinson Hospital.

Israel Police reported that the assailant, Abd Al-Rahman Radad, 17, of Zawia, followed the victim into a liquor store on Baron Hirsch Street in Petah Tikva, drew a knife and stabbed him in the upper body. The victim, together with the shop owner, managed to overpower the assailant, took the knife from him and stabbed him. He later died of his wounds.

Earlier on Tuesday, a female Palestinian assailant attempted to stab Border Police officers in Jerusalem's Old City Israeli police said.

According to police, the assailant approached Border Police officers at Hagai Street in the Old City, drew a knife out of her bag and attempted to stab them. No officers were wounded.

The officers shot the assailant, who was identified as a 51-year-old from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Tuba. She was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Hagai Street, in the heart of the Old City, is where Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett were killed in a terrorist attack last October.

At the Qalandiyah checkpoint near Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, security forces found a knife on a Palestinian who admitted that she intended to use it in an attack, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The Palestinian roused the suspicions of Military Police officers at the checkpoint, who then found a knife while searching her belongings. She admitted under investigation that she arrived at the checkpoint to carry out an attack, the IDF said.

Opposition politicians were quick to criticize the government of Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu in the wake of the attacks. Opposition leader and Labor chairman Isaac Herzog called on the government to adopt his separation plan for East Jerusalem.

Zionist Union co-chair Tzipi Livni said: "The wave of terror will not subside on its own. The visit by [U.S. Vice Presidbet Joe] Biden visit is an opportunity to lower the flames."

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said that the terror attacks were a "result of Netanyahu's and Ya'alon's policy of containing terrorism." 

Hamas praised the attacks, saying that they were a natural reaction and that the Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation by any means at their disposal.

Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran also called on the different Palestinian factions to join the "struggle of the Palestinians youths who choose to go and carry out attacks at the heart of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."