An Israeli man stabbed another Jew in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Ata on Tuesday, apparently because he thought the victim was an Arab and sought to avenge the recent wave of attacks on Jews, police said.
When the assailant tried to flee the scene — outside the city’s Ikea store — after the stabbing, a security guard shot at him. One bullet hit a bystander, grazing the man’s arm.
Police eventually arrested a suspect, a 36-year-old resident of Kiryat Ata, and took him in for questioning.
His victim, a 23-year-old man from the same town, was evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. He was admitted in moderate condition, with stab wounds to his back.
Police said the assailant is known to law enforcement for suspected criminal activity, but had not been involved in attacks on Arabs in the past.
Chief Superintendent Eran Shaked, the spokesman for the Coastal District of the Israel Police, said that when the assailant first fled, a civilian tried to stop him, but without success.
Then, as the assailant continued racing toward his car, the security guard fired several shots. That caused the assailant to stop in his tracks, and police officers who rushed to the scene then arrested him.
The incident was the second time in less than a week that an Israeli Jew sought to attack Arabs. On Friday, a 17-year-old boy from Dimona stabbed three Palestinians and a Bedoiun in that city.
The teen’s attorney, Itamar Ben-Gvir, claims his client has psychological problems and is not competent to stand trial.
Shaked noted that there has recently been a sharp rise in the number of calls to the police hotline about suspected attacks, though most turn out to be false alarms.
The officers at the local police station are working double shifts and some units are deployed in shopping centers and other spots that draw large crowds, so that they can respond quickly to any incident, Shaked said.
Police are also monitoring Facebook and other social media and investigating any posts that seem to constitute incitement or threats, he added.