Tuesday, June 05, 2012

5-Jun-12: A stabbing in the Tomb of the Patriarchs

Fifteenth century image of the burial
of the patriarch Jacob (Israel) in the
Machpelah Cave [Image Source]
On Monday afternoon, a Palestinian Arab clutching what Haaretz calls "a large nail" approached a small group of Israeli security personnel posted to keep the peace at the ancient Machpelah Cave in Hebron. It's a site that has been revered by Jews for thousands of years (long before Islam was created) as the traditional burial place of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as the matriarchs of the Jewish people Sarah, Rivka and Leah. [A striking collection of photographs is here on the excellent Israel Daily Picture website.] Many know it as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

The Palestinian Arab executed a stabbing attempt, managing to wound one of the Border Guard (Mishmar Hag'vul) servicemen in the head. His name, according to the Bethlehem-based Palestinian news agency Maan, is Laith Mashaal. It reports that he had come to the tomb to pray on Monday afternoon. Evidently feeling especially religious, he then stabbed the Israeli officer outside what Maan terms "the mosque". Another Border Guard police prevented a worse outcome by managing to use his weapon to fire a bullet at the Palestinian Arab, hitting him in the chest.

Times of Israel says the wounded Arab assailant received immediate care from a Magen David Adom rescue service unit called to the scene. They resuscitated him and rushed him to Hadassah Medical Center in the nearby Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ein Karem where he is in serious condition, but (in the customary irony that accompanies terrorist attacks in this unusual country) receiving the very best of Zionist medical care.

The Border Guard man with the stabbing injury to the head was taken to the same hospital where he is in moderate condition and recovering.

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