Israeli Army Officer Stabbed, Moderately Wounded in Fifth Attack in Three Days

Alleged Palestinian assailant shot during attack in West Bank settlement of Efrat; incident follows bloody weekend that broke relative lull in terror attacks.

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A knife used in a stabbing attack that lightly wounded an Israeli soldier in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron, West Bank, September 16, 2016.
A knife used in a stabbing attack that lightly wounded an Israeli soldier in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron, West Bank, September 16, 2016.Credit: Israel Defense Forces

An Israeli army officer was moderately wounded early Sunday morning in a suspected attack in the West Bank. The alleged assailant, identified as a Palestinian, was seriously hurt when he was shot after stabbing the reserves company commander in the settlement of Efrat.

Both men were taken to a Jerusalem hospital and IDF forces were searching the area.

Paramedics operate at the site of a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Efrat on Sunday, September 18, 2016.Credit: Magen David Adom

A suspicious figure was observed around 2 A.M. some 400 meters outside of Efrat, and army forces and the settlement's civilian security squad were alerted to the area. Four hours later, following a further detection of a suspicious figure, an army unit arrived at the scene, and the company commander was stabbed by the Palestinian assailant who was hiding in the bushes.

Magen David Adom paramedics said that "we saw a young man around the age of 30, fully conscious. He was suffering from a stabbing wound to the upper body, we quickly treated him at the site and urgently evacuated him to hospital for further treatment in medium to serious condition. He communicated with us the whole way to the hospital and was in stable condition."

The Efrat local council earlier instructed residents in the Zayit neighborhood in the settlement not to leave their homes in order to carry out security checks. A short while later it announced that daily routine was back to normal. Palestinian workers will not be permitted to enter the settlement throughout the day.

A surge in terror attacks

The incident follows a bloody weekend that broke the relative lull in the spate of terror attacks that plagued Israel and the West Bank during the summer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that the potential for violence could rise as the Jewish High Holy Days approach.

"The security forces are on heightened alert and I will meet with them today in order to ensure that we will be ready to defend our people during this sensitive period," he said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

On Saturday, an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack in the settler enclave of Tel Rumeida in Hebron. The Palestinian assailant was fatally shot. A day ealier, another Palestinian assailant was shot and killed after very lightly wounding an Israeli soldier in a stabbing attack at Jilber Junction, outside Tel Rumeida.

Also on Friday, two Palestinians, a man and a woman, were shot by Israeli soldiers after apparently attempting to run over people standing at a bus stop outside the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Meanwhile, Jordan condemned the killing of a Jordanian tourist by Israeli police officers on Friday in Jerusalem. According to the police, the man was shot after he charged at the officers with a knife.

Following the uptick in attacks, the IDF has decided to increase its presence in the Hebron area, deploying another battalion in the Hebron area. The Kfir Brigade's Shimshon Battalion will join the forces already deployed in the area, the Israel Defense Forces said.

After a period of relative calm, the defense establishment also expects a rise in the rate of attacks ahead of the upcoming Jewish holidays.

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