Deadly attacks on Israelis shatter lull

  • 20/11/2015

Five people, including an American, have died as Palestinian attacks targeted Israelis in a Tel Aviv stabbing and a West Bank gun and car-ramming assault, shattering a lull in weeks-long violence.

The day was among the bloodiest for Israelis since the latest violence broke out on October 1.

The first attack saw a 36-year-old Palestinian storm into an office building in commercial capital Tel Aviv with a knife, killing two Israelis and wounding one.

Police said the attacker, from Hebron in the occupied West Bank, was stopped by officers and civilians, wounded and arrested.

Those killed were men aged around 20 and 50, police said. The third victim suffered wounds in the upper body, hospital officials said.

One of the victims reportedly took refuge in a room inside the building that serves as a Jewish prayer area.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the attacker attempted to enter a synagogue inside the building.

"I heard cries and my Arab employee told me, 'He's stabbing'," Israel Bachar, a 65-year-old who runs a nearby print shop, told AFP.

"I left my store and I saw a man on the ground being stabbed. I threw a piece of wood that was on the ground and the terrorist got up and ran after me. I hid in a nearby store."

Bachar said the victim, a longtime friend, died in his arms.

The site of the attack, known as the Panorama building in southern Tel Aviv, hosts a variety of shops and offices.

Later in the day, at least one assailant opened fire from a car near a Jewish settlement south of Jerusalem before crashing into pedestrians.

Three people were killed in the incident, with at least one of them confirmed as Israeli and another a suspected attacker. A number of others were wounded.

One of the victims was identified as Yaakov Don, an Israeli from the Alon Shvut settlement near the site of the attack, and another was the American, police said without providing further details.

Though details were still emerging, the army spoke of shots being fired, then of the attacker "intentionally" ramming his car into the pedestrians.

A sixth person to die Thursday (local time) was Aliyan Mahmud, a 22-year-old Palestinian who was wounded November 11 in the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The last significant attack dates back to Friday, when an Israeli rabbi and his son were shot dead in an ambush as they drove near Hebron, the focus of much of the unrest.

The violence since the start of October has killed at least 86 people on the Palestinian side, including one Arab Israeli, and at least 15 Israelis, as well as the American.