Thursday, December 24, 2015

24-Dec-15: A thwarted stabbing assault near Hebron

At Tzomet Hakvasim (in English: Sheep Junction; also called Tzomet Ha'ari) on Route 60 near the Beit Hagai community in the South Hebron hills area, a Palestinian Arab male launched a stabbing attack this morning on soldiers manning the security checkpoint located there.

(Route 60 is better known to Israelis as "Way of the Patriarchs" (Hebrew: דרך האבות‎) since, as Wikipedia describes, it follows the path of the ancient highway running the length of Israel's central watershed and plays a role in the travels of the Biblical patriarchs. Today's Route 60 runs north/south between Beer Sheva in Israel's Negev desert all the way to Nazareth in the Galilee.)

Kvasim has some heavy history: the service men were surely aware that three of their IDF colleagues had been killed at the same spot on January 23, 2003 in a shooting attack for which both Hamas and Fatah/PA/PLO improbably claimed 'credit'. The Hebrew name Tzomet Ha'Ari pays homage to the Hebrew names of the three fallen soldiers:  אסף ביטן, רון ברד ויעקב נעים - Asaf, Ron, Yaakov).

The security checkpoint was removed by decision of the government of Israel in 2008 (reported here) and then reinstated some time later.

The assailant's weapon of choice in this morning's Kvasim attack was a screwdriver was shot and killed near the West Bank city of Hebron Thursday morning, the Israeli military said. He "approached a checkpoint near Hebron and attempted to stab the security forces", says Times of Israel's report. He was shot by IDF fire before doing any serious harm, and died of his wounds at the scene.

Ma'an News Agency identifies the failed knifer as Eiad Jamal Issa Ideis 25 (and elsewhere as Eyad Jamal Ed’eis, 26; and as Eyad Edeasat) from the town of of Yatta, located close to the scene of the attack. We assume posters announcing his elevation to martyrdom - the underlying justification and 'reward' for such pointless aggression - are being printed as we write this. In parts of the Arabic-language social media (here for instance), the attempted killer is said to have been "executed in cold blood by Israeli forces".

Fortunately, no Israelis were injured in this incident. It came less than an hour after another knifing assault near Ariel, with more serious consequences to the Israeli targets, as we reported here.

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