Palestinian Arrested in Suspected Stabbing Attack Initially Thought to Be a Brawl

Emerging details in August 15 incident in central Israel indicate possible terrorist motives, authorities say

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The scene of the stabbing in Rosh Ha'ayin, August 15, 2020.
The scene of the stabbing in Rosh Ha'ayin, August 15, 2020.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

A Palestinian resident of the West Bank city of Jenin was arrested on Thursday on suspicion that he had stabbed a man several days before in the Israeli town of Rosh Ha'ayin, northeast of Tel Aviv.

The incident, which occurred on August 15, took place at an apartment construction site where the victim had bought a unit. He had gone to the site to check on the progress of the construction. He recounted that his assailant had shouted at him in Arabic, which raised suspicions that the attack involved terrorist motives.

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An acquaintance of the victim said at the entrance to the building the victim encountered the suspect, who asked for a cigarette and offered to accompany the victim to his apartment and open the door for him. The attack is understood to have occurred on the floor where the apartment is located. The victim recounted that, following the stabbing, he managed to bite the Palestinian and escape, crawling to the entrance of the building, where a passerby found him two hours later.

The victim's injuries involved multiple wounds and were initially considered life-threatening, but following an operation, his condition stabilized. A security source said the victim and the assailant had not known each other. 

The Shin Bet security service said on Tuesday that the suspect was in Israel without a permit. Three other suspects were detained on suspicion of being accomplices to the attack.

Police initially reported that they were investigating the incident as a street brawl, but later shifted their focus. Further details on the case remain subject to a gag order.

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