A Palestinian stabbed two Border Guard officers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Sunday afternoon. One of the men sustained serious wounds to his back, while the other one was lightly injured in his hand. The injured were evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.
The stabber, 17, arrived at the cave from its Palestinian side, and on his way to the checkpoint pulled out a knife and stabbed the two Israelis. He was shot and injured by a Border Guard officer.
The Magen David Adom rescue services reported that the stabber was injured in his leg and was also evacuated to hospital. Large IDF forces were dispatched to the area and set up a large number of roadblocks.
Palestinians in Hebron said that the IDF and the police closed down the Cave of the Patriarchs are to Muslim worshipers and several men were still caught inside the mosque. According to the reports, large forces were searching the area.
Scene of attack (Photo: hebron.org.il)
Dvora Aviad, an MDA paramedic, told Ynet, "We arrived at the area a few minutes after the attack… Even the regimental commander was shocked that we arrived there so much. We saw two Border Guard officers there… A terrorist came from behind and stabbed them.
"The man we evacuated, who was moderately injured, was fully conscious, and felt well during the ride. He was stabbed on the top left side of his back, and on his waist on the right side," she said.
'Release of terrorists encourages terror'
Extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel said in response to the attack, "This is the terrorists' response to those who are seeking to release Hamas prisoners with blood on their hands."
"Every time they talk about releasing terrorists, violence escalates and the perpetrators receive encouragement," he added.
Palestinians in Hebron fear that settlers will seek revenge against the city's Palestinian residents and business owners in response to the attack.
Orit Struck, a representative of the Jewish settlers in Hebron, called on Defense Minister Amir Peretz to focus on solving the security problems in her city and in the entire country, "Instead of looking for excuses under the ground for removing Jews from their homes."
Police officers and soldiers near scene of attack (Photo: hebron.co.il)
Likud faction chairman, Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar, said in response to the attack, "The government must prevent (Defense Minister) Amir Peretz from carrying out his plan to harm the Jewish settlement in Hebron, which will be interpreted by the terrorists as another weakness and as a reward to terror."
MK Nissan Slomiansky (National Union-National Religious Party) said that the stabbing attack in Hebron was a "direct response to comments made by the defense minister, who chooses to engage in expelling Jews from a legally purchased house to gain support towards elections in his party," referring to the house near Hebron taken over by Jewish settlers several weeks ago.
"Peretz should be concerned about saving lives of Jewish people and not his political career," added Slomiansky.
Lilach Shoval, Ali Waked and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report