Thursday, November 19, 2015

19-Nov-15: Thursday, bloody Thursday

Aerial view of Gush Etzion Junction, south of Jerusalem
[Image Source]
It's been a day of bloody Arab-on-Israeli attacks here again. We are witnessing an escalation - rammings, shootings, stabbings - but it's early to reach conclusions about what this signifies.

Times of Israel says a 16-year-old Palestinian Arab boy approached Border Patrol security personnel guarding the entrance to the ancient and sacred Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron during early Thursday morning. He managed to arouse their suspicions and they stopped and searched him. He was found to be carrying a knife which, in the context of the dozens of stabbing attacks perpetrated by Arabs on Jews since the start of October, is something that produces an immediate Israeli response. He was arrested and taken away to be interrogated. No one was injured in what could easily have become a fatal encounter.

In another part of Hebron this morning, at the Pharmacy Checkpoint (as it's known to Israelis), an improvised explosive grenade was hurled at the security personnel manning the barrier during a "demonstration" by Palestinian Arabs. Times of Israel reports injuries to one of the Israelis, a soldier, who was treated on the spot. No word at this stage about the identity of the attacker. Firebombs were hurled at the security team manning the same checkpoint three weeks ago.

There has been further bloodshed in two major terror attacks done this afternoon in metropolitan Tel Aviv and in the Gush Etzion communities a few minutes drive south of Jerusalem.

South Tel Aviv's Beit Panorama Center via Google Street View
Based on reports from Israel television news, HaaretzYnet and Times of Israel, we know of a murderous rampage early this afternoon by a Palestinian Arab male of 26, a resident of Dura, a village near Hebron, and the bearer of a fresh entry-permit issued less than a week ago and allowing him to work in Israel, according to a Channel 2 report, "came to kill Jews" in the Tel Aviv area. The attack, by knife, was done inside the large and busy Beit Panorama office/retail/workshop complex on Ben Zvi Road in the southern section of Tel Aviv. Some reports are saying he was employed in one of the Beit Panorama restaurants. The knife man, in search of Jewish victims, perhaps religious Jews as happens with sickening frequency, spotted a minyan engaged in afternoon prayers in a makeshift chapel inside a Judaica shop. There, he managed to stab three people before being subdued by an alert passer-by equipped with no weapons other than an iron bar, yet managed to stop him and hold him in place until police arrived. Haaretz says two of the Israelis, males and said to be in their thirties, died of their injuries. The third has stabbing injuries defined as moderate. The terror-minded Palestinian Arab assailant is lightly injured and in the hands of the police.

Based on an Israel National News report, it appears that a short while later this afternoon, a terror-minded attacker (and perhaps 3 - we are checking) shot at Israelis traveling in at least three vehicles, including a light bus, via an Uzi sub-machine gun (according to Channel 2 News coverage at 6:00 pm) from his car, a Toyota sedan, in the Tzomet Gevaot road junction adjacent to the Alon Shvut community.

The shooter continued on from there, ramming his vehicle into an Israeli victim at the frequently-jam-packed Alon Shvut Junction. One of the shooting victims, described by Jerusalem Post as "an approximately 18-year old... youth [who] was an American tourist"], was pronounced dead at the scene. At least seven more people are injured - two of them critically including a man of about 50 who suffered bullet wounds to the upper parts of his body. He was rushed unconscious to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Other casualties were taken for emergency treatment at Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center. The attacker was shot; reports say he was "neutralized", a term which leaves some doubt as to whether he is going to be interrogated. (This video appears to show him dead beside his car.) Israel's Channel 2 News says (5:45 pm) reports the shooting deaths of two Israelis and of a third victim, a Palestinian Arab male ("in his forties") described as "evidently killed by accident".

There's still much to absorb in all of this. Israelis will be wanting to understand the implications, including the use of what is termed in Hebrew "hot weapons", a reference to the Uzi. One thing, however, is clear: the very limited interest there is here in attaching flags of Israel to people's social media avatars - experience tells us this generally fails to keep the killers out of our lives.

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