Youth Suspected of Stabbing Givatyaim Teen Over a Cigarette

According to witness, suspect attacked 18-year-old after skirmish over victim's refusal to give him a cigarette.

Police on Wednesday arrested a teenager suspected of stabbing an 18-year-old resident of Givatayim, after the victim refused his request for a cigarette.

The victim was evacuated to Tel Hashomer Hospital in stable condition, with serious wounds to his chest.

Police opened a search for the assailant shortly after the incident and managed to locate him within half an hour, attempting to flee the city on his motorcycle. The 17-year-old suspect was detained for further questioning.

According to eyewitness reports, the incident occurred after a skirmish broke out between a group of immigrant and local teenagers.

A friend of the victim, 'Max', told reporters that they had been approached by a group of boys while sitting on a bench in the city,

"We sat in the park drinking [and] on the way home stopped to rest on a bench," he said. "Suddenly, a group of guys came up and one of them asked for a cigarette."

"We told him no, because we didn't have any, and he answered that he was going to search us," added the witness. "It all happened very fast but suddenly I saw my friend walking toward me with blood on his chest. I jumped on him and put pressure on his chest in order to stop the bleeding."

As he told his testimony, Max's hand was still covered in his friend's blood.

In the wake of the attack, Givatayim Mayor Reuven Ben Shachar ordered municipal security forces to keep close watch on groups of teenagers gathering in the city park to drink.

"We will not allow violence in Givatayim," he declared. "This is a city unaccustomed to incidences such as these. Anyone who thinks he can go around Givatayim with a knife and alcohol is gravely mistaken."

"We will not allow this to happen and we will protect the quiet character of this city at any price," Ben Shachar added.

The mayor is planning to hold a special discussion session on the issue of youth violence later Wednesday.