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Tel Aviv's police chief said Sunday it was highly likely that the stabbing of an Israel Defense Forces soldier in Ramat Gan earlier in the day was a terror attack.

"Until now, from the body of the evidence it appears that this indeed was a nationalistic incident, and the suspicion that this was a grassroots terror attack - a lone assailant who does not belong to any sort of organization," said Major General Ilan Franco.

The soldier, who sustained moderate to serious wounds, told Magen David Adom emergency services personnel that the assailant was an Arab.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred after the soldier stepped off a bus in the central town, on the corner of Abba Hillel street and Rashi street.

Immediately afterwards, another man got off the bus who proceeded to pull out a blade and stab the soldier in the neck.

The assailant then hastily fled the scene, the eyewitnesses said.

A local resident, David Baruch, said the soldier ran to a nearby kiosk for aid.

"He ran toward us shouting: 'An Arab stabbed me! An Arab stabbed me!'" Baruch said. "We saw he was bleeding from his neck; it was hard for him to speak, [so] we told him not to exert himself and called Magen David Adom."

Dan region police began a wide sweep of the area in a bid to catch the attacker. A large crowd gathered at the scene of the incident, and traffic was jammed in the surrounding area.

A Magen David Adom paramedic said, "We found a soldier, aged about 20-year-old, with a stab wound below his ear."

The bus driver, Shalom Brander, said he had started to drive away after the soldier descended from the bus, when passengers shouted at him "stop, stop!"

He said he saw to his right the soldier running next to someone else, apparently the attacker, who fled in the opposite direction, entering a nearby house and disappearing.