Second IDF Soldier Stabbed in Central Israel in Two Days

Soldier lightly hurt, incident apparently not terror-related; police arrest suspect in Ramat Gan stabbing.

An Israel Defense Forces soldier was hospitalized on Monday with lights wounds, after he was stabbed in the central city of Ra'anana.

The attack appeared to be of criminal, not nationalist motive. Police have already cornered a suspect in the case.

This was the second time in two days an IDF soldier has been stabbed in the central region. Police suspect that the first stabbing, which occurred in Ramat Gan, was terror-related.

Police from the Dan region and the Shin Bet security service began a sweep of the area immediately after the Sunday stabbing, and made an arrest later in the day.

The soldier told emergency rescue personnel on the scene that an Arab had stabbed him and fled. The soldier was taken to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv where he was described as being in moderate condition.

Investigators are treating the Ramat Gan attacj as a terror incident until proven otherwise.

Eye-witnesses said the soldier had just gotten off a public bus when another man ran toward him, stabbed him in the neck and fled. A paramedic said the soldier, about 20 years old, had been stabbed below the ear.

The bus driver, Shalom Barda, said he had started to drive away after the soldier got off when passengers shouted at him, "Stop, stop!"

Barda added that when he looked to the right, he saw the soldier running with someone else beside him, apparently the attacker, who then fled in the opposite direction, entering a nearby house and disappearing.

Another bystander, David Baruch, said the soldier ran toward a nearby kiosk to get help, shouting, "An Arab stabbed me."

"We saw he was bleeding from the neck and it was hard for him to talk. We told him to take it easy and we called Magen David Adom," Baruch said.

Investigators will try to deduce whether the attacker was operating alone, instead of being sent by a terror organization. The Shin Bet has been concerned recently over the number of attacks committed by "lone assailants," with no links to terror groups. Such attackers often resort to using weapons on the scene (a knife, an ax, and in a number of instances a bulldozer or car).

Most of those attacks have taken place over the past year in the West Bank and Jerusalem. There are many thousands of illegal residents from the West Bank inside the Green Line, and on occasion, they have been involved in such incidents.

Pressure exerted by the IDF on the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in the West Bank has led to reduced involvement of the latter in attacks, but more such acts being perpetrated by lone assailants.

Security officials have said such attacks are on the rise and are acts of revenge for the killing of more than 1,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.