Biden says his family was near scene of Tel Aviv attack


Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his wife Jill and their grandchildren were dining on a Tel Aviv beach when a Palestinian killed an American tourist with a knife and wounded 11 other people on the seafront “not very far” away.

Since October, Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car rammings have killed 28 Israelis and two U.S. citizens. Israeli forces have killed at least 179 Palestinians, 121 of whom Israel says were assailants. Most others were shot dead during violent protests.

“I don't know exactly whether it was a hundred meters or a thousand meters,” Biden, on a visit to Israel, told reporters about Tuesday's assault.

“It brings home that it can happen, it can happen anywhere, at any time,” he said, after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Violence has surged since Biden's arrival in Israel on Tuesday as part of a regional visit. Two Palestinians, who Israel said opened fire and wounded one man in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and a Palestinian who the military said tried to stab soldiers in the West Bank, were killed by Israeli forces.

On Tuesday, Biden was meeting former Israeli President Shimon Peres several blocks from where the Palestinian was running along the Tel Aviv beachfront stabbing pedestrians and motorists stuck in traffic.

Taylor Force, a 28-year-old Vanderbilt University graduate student and a U.S. military veteran who Biden said served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, was killed and 11 people were wounded before police shot the attacker dead.

“Let me say in no uncertain terms, the United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts,” Biden said, with Netanyahu at his side, in remarks that appeared critical of Palestinian leaders.

Palestinian leaders say many Palestinian attackers have acted out of desperation in the absence of movement towards creation of an independent state. Israel says they are being incited to violence by their leaders and on social media.

Later in the day, Biden, who has visited the Gulf during his trip and plans to travel to Jordan next, met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

Abbas expressed his condolences over Force's death, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, and said the establishment of a Palestinian state was key to ending the violence.

Israeli reservist stabbed in West Bank, assailant killed


An Israeli reserve duty soldier was wounded and his Palestinian assailant was shot and killed in a stabbing attack in the West Bank.

On Tuesday, the attacker exited his car at the Gush Etzion traffic junction in front of the Alon Shvut settlement where a group of soldiers were standing, then stabbed one of the soldiers in the face and hand before being shot and killed by other soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces said. The soldier was lightly injured, according to reports.

The attacker was identified as a 21-year-old Palestinian from the Bethlehem area.

The Gush Etzion junction has been the site of several stabbing and car-ramming attacks in recent months.

Also Tuesday, a Palestinian man who was suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack in central Israel was arrested following a large-scale manhunt.

The suspect, 20, of eastern Jerusalem, was caught in Herzliya on Tuesday and taken for interrogation after his car was found in the center of the city north of Tel Aviv. He reportedly left his house earlier in the day after fighting with his father and threatening to commit a terror attack. He drove through a police checkpoint in Jerusalem.

Soldier and Eritrean migrant killed, 11 people wounded in Beersheba attack


An Israeli soldier and Eritrean migrant were killed and at least 11 people were wounded in a shooting and stabbing terror attack at the Central Bus Station in Beersheba.

Police said the Palestinian assailant stabbed a soldier and grabbed his M-16 rifle, then opened fire on the bus station.

Migrant Haftom Zarhum, 29, was also shot by police and died hours later at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. Video images show him lying in a pool of his own blood being kicked by bystanders who thought he was an assailant. Eleven others were wounded in the terror attack.

It is not known how the attacker entered the bus station in the southern Israeli city with weapons, since security guards are posted at all entrances.

Four of the wounded are police officers, according to police, and were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

Bus and train service to the area was suspended.

Palestinian protesters rioted Sunday evening in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Tulkarem, throwing rocks, firebombs and burning tires at Israeli soldiers and security officers.

Two stabbed in suspected terror attack in northern Israel


An Israeli soldier and a civilian were stabbed in a suspected terror attack in the northern Israeli city of Afula.

Civilian bystanders restrained the assailant in the wake of the Thursday night attack and held him until police arrived, the Israel Police reported.

The victims were taken to an Afula hospital and were in moderate condition, according to the police.

Video footage aired on Israel’s Channel 2 showed a crowd starting to punch and kick the assailant as he lay on the ground before being dispersed by police.

It was the fourth stabbing attack in Israel on Thursday, the second day of several such attacks. The other attacks on Thursday took place in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and in the West Bank near Hebron.

Female Israeli soldier stabbed in West Bank by Palestinian woman


A female Israeli soldier was injured seriously in a stabbing by a Palestinian woman at a West Bank checkpoint.

The Palestinian, 20, was arrested at the scene after stabbing the soldier at the Rachel Crossing near Bethlehem, on the road to Rachel’s Tomb,  according to the Israel Police. She was found to have two other knives in her possession.

The soldier, also about 20, was taken to Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem with stab wounds to her upper body and neck.

During an interrogation, the attacker, from Bethlehem, admitted that she intended to kill a soldier, according to reports.

Earlier Monday, a Palestinian teen tried to enter Israel from a checkpoint outside the Shuafat refugee camp with an assault rifle hidden under his clothes. The rifle was discovered by a metal detector.

At least 12 injured, four critically, in stabbing spree on Tel Aviv bus


At least 12 people were wounded, some seriously, when a Palestinian man stabbed passengers and the driver on a Tel Aviv bus.

Four victims, including the driver, remained in serious condition following the Wednesday morning attack on the No. 40 bus. Initial reports said 12 to 21 people were injured.

The assailant was shot in the leg by a commander in the Israel Prison Service who was at the scene of the attack and apprehended by police. Video of the attack was later posted on YouTube.

Police identified the assailant as Hamza Muhammed Hasan Matrouk, 23, from the West Bank city of Tulkarem who had entered Israel illegally, according to media reports.

The attack was the first in Tel Aviv since a soldier was killed in a stabbing attack at a train station in November.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Prison Service members who stopped Wednesday’s attacker and drew a link between the incident and recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium.

“The attack in Tel Aviv is the direct result of the poisonous incitement spread by the Palestinian Authority toward the Jews and their state,” Netanyahu said. “The same terror tries to harm us in Paris, Brussels and everywhere.”

According to Israeli reports, the attacker boarded the bus at approximately 7:15 a.m. and began stabbing passengers soon afterward. The driver, Herzl Biton, 55, sprayed the assailant with pepper spray as he was being stabbed, slowing him down and aiding the Prison Service employees in stopping him as he fled the scene.

“We identified in the area of the Maariv Bridge a large gathering, and people crying for help. After an initial assessment, we understood it was a terrorist incident,” said Prison Service Commander Benny Botershvili, who shot the attacker, according to the Times of Israel. “I and a team of three Nachshon fighters identified the terrorist and chased after him. We shot toward his legs, the terrorist collapsed and fell, we handcuffed him and waited for the police to arrive.”

Liel Suissa, an eighth-grader on his way to school, told the Israeli daily Israel Hayom that he broke a bus window to escape the attack after the stabbing began. He said the assailant continued chasing after people as they escaped the bus.

“Suddenly the terrorist came and began stabbing people,” Suissa said, according to Israel Hayom. “We all went to the back, and most of the people piled onto me. I sat in the bus and heard people screaming. He turned around in the bus and suddenly went to the driver and stabbed him.”

Tel Aviv Police Commander Bentzi Sau called the attack a “nationalist incident” and praised Biton’s “excellent reaction” to the stabbing. He said the police are investigating whether the attacker had any accomplices.

Hamas officials praised the attack as “heroic and courageous,” according to Israeli reports. Hamas said it was a “natural reaction of sons of the Palestinian nation to the crimes of the cruel Zionist occupier.”

New York police shoot, kill man who stabbed student in synagogue


New York police fatally shot a man armed with a knife on Tuesday after he stabbed a rabbinical student from Israel in a Brooklyn synagogue, and authorities quickly stepped up security at Jewish houses of worship around the city, police said.

The suspect, Calvin Peters, 49, who has a history of mental illness, stabbed and wounded 22-year-old Levi Rosenblat, who was studying at the world headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, police said.

When police arrived at the synagogue at 1:40 a.m. EST, they found the suspect with the knife in his hand and threatening other worshippers.

Rabbi Motti Seligson of Chabad-Lubavitch said Peters was heard saying repeatedly, “Kill the Jews.”

Police officers confronted Peters, and the suspect complied with their demand to drop the knife. A video of the confrontation shows the officer then holstered his gun, but Peters picked up the knife again and began moving toward police.

Police said the officer shot once, hitting Peters in the torso. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

While the assailant's motive remains unknown, Police Commissioner William Bratton said security was being stepped up at Jewish facilities around the city.

Chabad-Lubavitch is a movement dedicated to encouraging Jews to be more observant, and the building is revered by some Jews as the seat of the grand rabbi, the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who some followers believed was the messiah. The incident comes just weeks after a deadly meat cleaver attack by two Palestinians in a synagogue in Israel.

It also comes amid close scrutiny of U.S. law enforcement after several recent police killings of unarmed African-American men. Police described Peters as black and the officer who shot him as Hispanic.

Bratton said the NYPD is stepping up training for officers on ways to bring people under control without using firearms.

“The shooting looks like it was justified,” Bratton told reporters. “You had an individual with a knife who had stabbed an individual.”

The student, Rosenblat, was stabbed in the left temple and was in stable condition at the hospital, police said.

At the time of the incident, the building, which also houses a soup kitchen for the homeless and needy neighborhood residents, was open as usual and a number of people were inside.

In the video, the attacker walks up to and asks each of about a half dozen men dressed in Orthodox Jewish clothing, “Want me to kill you?”

The officer demands the attacker drop the knife or he will shoot and the men initially shout, “Don't shoot! Don't shoot!” Police confirmed the video, which was posted to the New York Post website, was legitimate.

The knife was recovered at the scene and the investigation into the incident is continuing.

Stabbing outside West Bank supermarket injures 2


A Palestinian teenager stabbed two people in a supermarket near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank on Wednesday and was shot by a security guard, police and an ambulance service said.

“The terrorist was apparently neutralized. There are two wounded, in addition to the terrorist, who was shot,” a spokesman for the Magen David Adom ambulance service said on Israel Radio.

The incident occurred in the Rami Levi supermarket near Maale Adumim, a large settlement east of Jerusalem.

Police said the two people stabbed by the attacker, whom they identified as a 16-year-old Palestinian, were taken to hospital with moderate injuries. The condition of the assailant was not immediately clear.

Tensions have risen in past weeks over access to a Jerusalem holy site where al-Aqsa mosque now stands and Biblical Jewish Temples once stood.

On Monday, a Palestinian woman stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli civilian in the Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements near Jerusalem, and was then shot and wounded by security forces, the military and police said.

Recent attacks carried out by Palestinians have killed 11 Israelis. Twelve Palestinians have also been killed, including several of the assailants.

Palestinian arrested for stabbing Jewish girl, 9, in West Bank


A Palestinian man was arrested and confessed to stabbing a 9-year-old girl in a West Bank settlement.

Abdullah Abu Kabita, 21, was arrested last week for the October attack on Noam Glick in Psagot. A gag order on the arrest was lifted Monday.

Noam was attacked while standing on the porch of her home. She was treated at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem for wounds at the base of her neck, across her chest and on her ear. It is believed shots also were fired during the attack.

The Israeli military considers the attack to be motivated by nationalism, according to Haaretz.

Abu Kabita and an accomplice breached the settlement’s security fence to get to the house. He said in his confession that he planned to break into the home and steal weapons, according to Haaretz.

Psagot is located north of Jerusalem and adjacent to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority.

On Monday, pipe bombs thrown at Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem injured one worshiper. The attack came several hours after a firebombing at an Israeli military base near Bethlehem.

On Sunday, Palestinians threw four firebombs and rocks at an Israeli car riding west of Bethlehem, causing damage to the car.

Also Monday, a rocket fired by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip landed in the Negev Desert, where it caused no damage or injuries.

Dutch police nab suspected stabber of French Jew


Dutch police reportedly arrested and extradited to Switzerland a 22-year-old Briton suspected of stabbing a Jewish man in Geneva.

The suspect is a member of extreme right circles, according to CICAD, a Swiss watchdog on anti-Semitism, and was arrested last month in the Netherlands. DNA evidence linked him to the stabbing, according to Johanne Gurfinkel, secretary general of a CICAD, an institution of the Swiss Jewish community.

According to the CICAD website, the suspect was arrested following “a long investigation by the police department of Geneva and an international arrest waarant issued.”

The attack occurred last December in the car park of Geneva’s Natural History Museum as the victim, a haredi Orthodox Jew, was putting a baby carriage in the trunk of his car. His attacker allegedly stabbed him four times in view of the victim’s family.

The victim, a French national from Aix les Bains, some 40 miles from Geneva, sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized for more than a week.

He was visiting friends in Geneva along with his wife and five children, the oldest of whom was 9. The children were in the car and his wife was at the wheel when the man was attacked and stabbed from the back, according to a report on the incident by SPCJ, the security unit of France’s Jewish communities. 

The attacker seemed “particularly determined to kill the victim,” according to SPCJ. The victim, however, managed to hit the attacker in the face and fend him off with the baby carriage. The victim suffered lacerations on his back and face; the knife also penetrated one of the victim’s lungs.

The attacker fled but left some DNA, which the Swiss police collected and filed with the European wanted persons database, leading to his arrest and extradition, Gurfinkel of CICAD told JTA.

Palestinian assailant stabs Israeli border guard in Hebron


An Israeli border guard was stabbed by a Palestinian assailant near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

The border guard was lightly wounded in the head during Monday evening’s attack and taken to the hospital.

Another border guard shot the Palestinian assailant in the chest during the attack, seriously wounding him, according to reports.

It is unknown if the assailant is a member of a terrorist organization.

Monday’s attack came days after an Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian gunman that infiltrated the border with Gaza.

Palestinian arrested in stabbing of Israeli taxi driver


A Palestinian man was arrested in connection with the stabbing of an Israeli taxi driver.

The driver, 30, was in stable condition at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba after being stabbed after midnight Tuesday. He had picked up the passenger in Tel Aviv and taken him to Kfar Saba, as requested. The passenger, who had pre-paid his fare, then stabbed the driver in the stomach and fled the scene, according to Ynet.

The Palestinian arrested in the attack was being questioned by the Shin Bet security service, Ynet reported. He is suspected of being a Palestinian working in Israel illegally. Police believe the attack was nationalistically motivated and that the attacker acted alone.

A gag order has been placed on other details about the case.

Police say Palestinian stabber acted alone


The Palestinian held for stabbing an Israeli female soldier this month is suspected of acting alone.

Details about the March 15 assault aboard the Jerusalem light rail emerged Monday when the suspect, an 18-year-old resident of eastern Jerusalem, was remanded in court.

Citing an account given by the suspect under interrogation, police said he stabbed and seriously wounded the 18-year-old female conscript after boarding the train instead of going to school.

The suspect, who was captured later in the day while trying to travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah, described the attack as revenge for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, police said. But they added that he did not appear to have links to organized Palestinian terrorism.

The investigation is continuing; a trial date has yet to be set.

Australian woman stabbed to death in Tel Aviv hotel


An Australian woman was found stabbed to death in her Tel Aviv hotel room.

The woman, 54, was found Monday afternoon with stab wounds on her upper body, after screams were heard coming from her hotel room on the 15th floor of the Dan Panorama Hotel.

Another Australian tourist, reportedly her partner, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder, Haaretz reported.

The woman’s identity has not been disclosed.

Breaking News: American Student Stabbed in Jerusalem


An American Jewish student was stabbed in Jerusalem by three men believed to be Palestinians, according to reports.

The 19-year-old male student, said to be enrolled at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was admitted to the hospital after the incident late Saturday night with stab wounds to the face and neck. The student had asked the men for directions, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Ha’aretz.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old Israeli soldier managed to fight off an attacker in Jaffa, according to Ha’aretz. The attacker escaped and a manhunt is under way.

Attacks on Moscow Synagogues


Moscow’s five functioning synagogues have been repeated targets:

  • Dec. 30, 1993 — The old wooden building of the Marina Roscha Synagogue burned to the ground in what was considered an arson attack.
  • 1994 — A hand grenade was thrown at the window of the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue.
  • October 1994 — An explosive device disguised as a beer can was found and defused in the courtyard of the Choral Synagogue.
  • August 1996 — An explosive device went off outside of the Marina Roscha Synagogue. No one was injured.
  • May 1998 — Two people were injured when an explosive device went off near the Marina Roscha Synagogue.
  • July 13, 1999 — A knife-wielding youth entered the Choral Synagogue and stabbed Jewish leader Leopold Kaimovsky several times.
  • July 25, 1999 — An explosive device containing 500 grams of TNT was found in the prayer hall of the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue. It was successfully defused.
  • April 2003 — An explosive device was found and defused outside the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue.