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Latest News in Israel – 10th March

Terrorists suspected of conducting two attacks in Jerusalem; One critically wounded

Two terrorists are suspected of carrying out two separate shooting attacks in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning according to police reports.

The first attack took place on Golda Meir Boulevard in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot where shots were fired on an Egged bus.

Passengers reported seeing two men in a car who opened fire on the bus. A citizen, noticing the commotion, exited his car and ran towards the scene and fired his weapon. The terrorists fled the scene.

No injuries were reported in the attack. Several people were treated for shock.

Police began an extensive search for the terrorists and their vehicle.

Shortly following the bus attack, an additional shooting attack was reported near the New Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.

MDA paramedics at the scene treated a man in his 50s who was listed in critical condition with bullet wounds to his upper body. The victim was evacuated to Hadassa University Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus.

“We saw an approximately 50-year-old man who was semi-conscious who had a gunshot wound in his upper body,” said MDA paramedic Mohammed Abed Al Rahman. “We carried out life saving medical treatment and evacuated him quickly to the hospital in serious condition under sedation and intubtion.”

According to MDA reports the victim appears to be a resident of east Jerusalem.

Two terrorists were shot and killed by security forces. The car belonging to the terrorists responsible for the bus shooting was found at the scene on Paratroopers Street. Upon searching the vehicle police found weapons inside.

Police suspect the same vehicle was used in both attacks.                     (Jerusalem Post)

‘Biden visit to Israel may have triggered Palestinian stabbings’

Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel may have served as the trigger for Palestinian assailants to commit attacks against Israelis on Tuesday, defense officials said.

Police said that after a situation assessment held by the senior police brass and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, they decided to increase their manpower and patrols across the country as a result of Tuesday’s attacks.

They added that they have not found any linkage between the three attacks and that they had no prior warnings.

An American tourist was murdered and 12 people wounded Tuesday, including a pregnant woman, as a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing rampage on the Tel Aviv seashore before being killed by police.

The stabbings were one of the three unrelated terrorist attacks that broke the relative quiet in Israel of recent days.

Among the wounded were four American tourists, including the critically injured wife of the 29-year-old murdered man. As of press time, police hadn’t released the dead man’s identity pending notification of his family.

The American tourist who died in the attack has been identified as Taylor Force.

Force was a graduate student who was attending Vanderbilt University. He had traveled to Israel with other faculty, students, and staff from the institution, according to a statement released by the school late Tuesday.

The IDF on Tuesday night imposed a blockade on the West Bank villages of the Palestinian terrorists who carried out stabbing attacks earlier in the day in the Israeli cities of Jaffa and Petah Tikva.

Also in light of intelligence information, police forces were carrying out searches at the house of another terrorist who shot and wounded two Border Police officers in an attack in Jerusalem.

According to Palestinian reports, the terrorist who killed an American tourist and wounded many others in a stabbing spree in Jaffa was identified as Bashar Massalha, 22, from the village of Uja in the Kalkiliya area. The reports noted that Massalha had returned from a visit to Saudi Arabia’s Mecca the week before.

The terrorist in the Petah Tikva stabbing that left one Israeli wounded was said to be Abed al-Rahman Radad a 17-year-old resident of the northern West Bank town of Zawiya.

The stabbing spree began at 6:15 p.m. when the attacker – described by police as a 21-year-old man from Kalkilya – slashed several people near the Jaffa Port. Fleeing northward, he stabbed two more people near Jaffa’s clock tower, and then four more near the beachfront Manta Ray restaurant before he was shot.

Video from the scene shows the attacker running north on Yehezkel Kaufman Street between vehicles stuck in traffic.

At one point, he unsuccessfully tried to stab a driver inside his car.

Several bystanders chased the terrorist, attempting to stop him.

“I was sitting down playing guitar and I heard screaming from across the street,” said Yishai who was interviewed on Channel 2. “I saw a man run at me with a knife, I ran at him with the guitar and smashed it on his head. He was so stunned and didn’t know what to do with himself and then started running away.”

Speaking at the scene of the attack, Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich said police saw no operational connection between the days attacks.

He urged the public to return to its normal routine as quickly as possible, as did Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.

“We won’t have a reality where there is a cop on every corner on every street. We are in a reality in which a lone attacker can, at any moment and in any situation, surprise us and this is how this happens.

This is the reality we live in,” Huldai said.

Alsheich said police are carrying out operational assessments to try to determine if the wave of attacks on Tuesday indicates any wider phenomenon on the ground. He added that there were no further attackers on the loose in Tel Aviv that police are aware of.

Among those hurt in the Jaffa attack was a pregnant woman who was moderately- to-seriously wounded. Two of the victims were Arab men, according to police.

In an earlier attack, a terrorist from Kalkilya stabbed an Israeli man in a convenience store in Petah Tikva.

Sharon subdistrict police said that around 4:30 p.m. a 39-year-old Jewish man walked into a store on Baron Hirsch Street when a Palestinian man ran in behind him and began stabbing him repeatedly in the upper body.

Despite his wounds, the victim, together with the store owner, managed to fight off the attacker. He then picked the knife up off the floor and began to stab the attacker, who was mortally wounded and ruled dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, two Border Police officers were in critical and serious condition in Jerusalem after being shot in the head by an Arab terrorist outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate early Tuesday evening.

Shortly after 5 p.m., police said the unidentified male assailant fired a submachine gun at the officers while they were patrolling the much-travelled Salah A-Din Road, just outside the Old Continued from Page 1 City walls, approximately 300 meters from the Damascus Gate.

“Shots were fired on officers who were on a regular patrol in and around the area, and as a result we have two officers down who were seriously injured,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said at the scene of the attack.

“All of our police units responded in the area, and the terrorist was spotted with an improvised automatic weapon, chased and shot and killed at the scene,” he said.

As hundreds of curious Palestinians passively watched the chaotic scene unfold in the Arab neighborhood, dozens of heavily armed officers cordoned-off the area and searched for other possible suspects.

“At this moment, in time we’re continuing security measures for the [US Vice President Joseph] Biden visit, which is beginning this evening here in Jerusalem, and heightened security continues as long as necessary,” Rosenfeld said.

Both officers were treated at the scene by United Hatzalah of Israel paramedics before being rushed to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

United Hatzalah volunteer Daniel Katzenstein said his command center received a call about the shooting at 5:10 p.m., and it was originally not clear how many victims there were.

“We immediately dispatched our ambucycle unit, which raced to the scene, and our first responders reported active gunfire when they arrived, which continued for some time,” he said.

Despite the gun fire, Katzenstein said the paramedics were able to access and treat one of the victims, who remained conscious after being shot in the head.

“We treated him until police secured the entire area, and then went with police to treat the second victim, who was more seriously injured and required CPR after losing consciousness and deteriorating at the scene,” he said.

At 7:30 p.m., Hadassah University Medical Center spokeswoman Hadar Elboim said that one of the officers, who is 48 years old, remained in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The other officer, who is 31, was conscious and in moderate-to-serious condition, she said.

On Tuesday morning, a knife-wielding Arab woman in her 50s was shot dead in Jerusalem after attempting to stab a Border Police officer on the Old City’s much-traveled Haggai Street.

Police said that at approximately 10 a.m. the unidentified woman from east Jerusalem approached a group of officers carrying out security measures in the area.

“She pulled a knife from her bag and tried to stab one of the officers, who acted immediately and responsibly upon realizing his life was in immediate danger and shot and killed the woman,” said Rosenfeld.

“She was pronounced dead at the scene, the knife was seized as evidence, and the area was immediately cordoned-off,” he added.

None of the officers were wounded, he said, and a coroner arrived minutes later to collect the corpse.

Rosenfeld said an investigation has been launched to determine who the woman is, and whether she acted alone or is part of a terrorist cell.

Intelligence services minister Israel Katz, who is a member of the security cabinet, became the first minister to call the current wave of violence a “war” Tuesday night.

“We are in the midst of a war against ISIS-style Muslim extremist terrorism,” Katz told Channel 2. “We are in an emergency situation.

There are murderers here who are motivated by hatred and we cannot allow Jews to continue to get harmed. There is an intifada of incitement. We must restore deterrence, so I must ask all the higher than thou who scold us to understand our current reality.”

Katz (Likud) said he would file his bill calling for the expulsion of terrorists’ family members Wednesday.

A Channel 1 poll revealed Tuesday night found that 73 percent of Israelis are unsatisfied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the security situation, 23% are satisfied, and the rest did not answer or said they did not know.   (Jerusalem Post)

Taylor Force, Vanderbilt grad student, identified as Jaffa terror fatality

Taylor Force[1]

Vanderbilt graduate student Taylor Force, 29, was killed Tuesday evening by a Palestinian terrorist who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa in which 12 other people were wounded.

“This horrific act of violence has robbed our Vanderbilt family of a young hopeful life and all of the bright promise that he held for bettering our greater world,” Vanderbilt chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos wrote in a letter to the student body.

“Taylor embarked on this trip to expand his understanding of global entrepreneurship and also to share his insights and knowledge with start-ups in Israel,” wrote Zeppos.

Force was a student at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Zeppos wrote.               (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Wounded in Palestinian Stabbing Attack Pulls Knife Out of Neck, Turns on Terrorist: ‘I Knew I Had to Fight Back’

Victim[1]

The victim of Tuesday’s stabbing attack in Petah Tikvah.

“I thought I was going to die,” the victim of Tuesday’s Palestinian stabbing attack in Petah Tikva told Israel’s Channel 2 from his bed at the Beilinson Medical Center.

The approximately 40-year-old, Orthodox, married father-of-five, who had not yet revealed his name to the media, recounted the frightening moments from the time he felt he was being stabbed in the neck, until turning the tables on the terrorist.

When he first felt the knife enter his body twice, he said, “I thought this was it. But then I pulled myself together. I understood it was a terrorist and that I had to fight him to keep him from killing me and other people.”

“It occurs to everyone at some point that such a thing could happen,” he said. “But we don’t obsess over it or spend all our time looking over our shoulders.”

He concluded: “I thought this was my last day [on earth], but I was given my life as a gift, pure and simple. If God hadn’t wanted me to be here, I wouldn’t be here.”

The man was stabbed after entering a store in Petah Tikvah, to collect a charitable donation, according to an earlier report. As soon as he was inside, a Palestinian, later identified as a resident of Qalqilya in the West Bank, came running in after him. The assailant immediately pulled out a large knife and began stabbing the victim in his upper body.

The victim managed then to pull the knife out of his flesh, and flee the store, while the proprietor tackled the terrorist.

At this point, according to Channel 2, the victim returned to the store, picked up the knife with which he had been stabbed and began stabbing the terrorist. The shop-keeper emerged unscathed, while the victim was evacuated to the hospital in moderate condition, and the terrorist was pronounced dead within minutes.            (The Times of Israel)

Netanyahu: Abbas praises US citizen’s murderer as a ‘martyr’

At the beginning of his meeting with the visiting US Vice President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday greeted Biden while noting the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) lauding of a lethal attack which killed a US citizen the day before.

In an attack in Jaffa (Yafo) on Tuesday night, an Arab terrorist conducted a mass stabbing, wounding 10 victims and murdering American tourist Taylor Allen Force. Police said Biden’s visit, which began Tuesday, may have been a catalyst for the wave of attacks in the past two days.

Netanyahu thanked Biden for visiting with his wife Jill, his daughter-in-law Hallie, and his grandchildren Natalie and Hunter. He added, “I want to thank you personally for your, for our personal friendship of over 30 years. We’ve known each other a long time. We’ve gone through many trials and tribulations. And we have an enduring bond that represents the enduring bond between our people.”

“As you well know, the last 24 hours have been very difficult for Israel, including this morning. Twelve people were injured in five terrorist attacks. An American citizen, Taylor Force, was murdered. Taylor was a graduate of West Point, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, a graduate student of Vanderbilt University. And I want to extend our deepest condolences to his family and wish the injured a speedy recovery. And I know I speak for you because you’ve said these very words.”

Netanyahu said he appreciated Biden’s condemnation of terrorism, but noted that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “has not only refused to condemn these terrorist attacks, his Fatah party actually praised the murderer of this American citizen as a Palestinian martyr and a hero.”

“Now, this is wrong. And this failure to condemn terrorism should be condemned itself by everybody in the international community,” stressed Netanyahu.

Earlier on Wednesday Biden implicitly criticized the PA himself, when he said the US “condemns the failure to condemn these attacks,” and slammed the “rhetoric that incites violence.”

At the start of their meeting, Netanyahu continued, saying, “we have taken many steps in recent months to fight Palestinian terrorism, and we’re taking even stronger measures now. I believe that to fight terror, all civilized societies must stand together. And while Israel has many partners in this decisive battle, we have no better partner than the United States of America.”

The prime minister outlined challenges in the joint war on terror, noting the incitement in Palestinian society, as well as the collapse of states in the Middle East.

He then said there are also “great opportunities,” arguing that “the first opportunity is to deepen ties between Israel and the moderate Arab states, and this could help us build a solid foundation for peace and stability. We can also make Israel energy independent, an exporter of natural gas to the region and beyond.”              (Arutz Sheva)

‘Guitar Hero’ adjusting to newfound fame after trying to hinder Jaffa terrorist

‘Guitar Hero’ Yishay Montgomery’s 15 minutes of fame may end soon, but for now he just wants to sleep.

The 26-year-old beachfront busker who crushed his guitar over the head of a terrorist last night on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa promenade said Wednesday morning he’d hardly slept the night before and since the morning, he’d been fielding call after call from reporters and loved ones, as well as getting stopped by random people on the street.

He’d already been on the “Orly and Guy” morning show and would appear on “Guri Alfi’s” night show later on Wednesday, and couldn’t decide whether or not to go back to busking or take a nap.

Back at the scene of the attack on Wednesday, Montgomery was carrying a brand new 12-string “Guild” acoustic guitar that he was given minutes earlier by “Halalit”, music store a few doors down. An employee of the store said they decided to give him the guitar to reward his heroism (and a little product placement couldn’t hurt). Another employee said he was next to Montgomery when he crashed his acoustic guitar into the skull of the terrorist and told his bosses that the young street performer should be rewarded.

He was also given a guitar by Israeli rocker Aviv Geffen and is the subject of a GoFundMe page collecting money to replace his guitar, or it seems now, to buy a storage space for the replacement guitars that keep coming in.

Tired and squinting in the mid-day sun, Montgomery tried to recount the previous night’s events.

“I saw a crowd of people panicking and then the terrorist broke through and started running towards me. We made eye contact and I thought I’m next to get it. Then I fell, and I think my clumsiness saved me because it created some space between me and the knife. Then I got up and hit him with the guitar because it’s what I had.”

At that point the terrorist continued running, leaving behind a head-sized hole in Montgomery’s acoustic guitar.

The attacker, 21-year-old Bashar Masalha of Kalkiliya, was shot dead by police further down the promenade.

In the attack, Masalha murdered 29-year-old Taylor Force, a Vanderbilt University graduate student visiting Israel for a school trip. In a strange twist of fate, Force is a native of Lubbock, Texas, as is Montgomery’s father and grandparents.

Guitar Hero[3]

Montgomery has become something of an internet sensation since Tuesday night, with Israelis praising his heroism as the latest civilian to use the tools at his disposal to stop a terrorist, joining previous civilians who used nunchucks, umbrellas, and a selfie-stick to fight off attackers.

Montgomery was wearing a t-shirt for American rock band ‘Tool’ when he was interviewed at the scene last night, but so far he said the band hasn’t reached out to fly him to a concert, though he said he’s game if they call.

Montgomery – who lives in Be’er Tuviya and is a full-time busker – was trailed by a recent admirer who saw him at Halalit, a young man who didn’t want his name given because he was on sick leave from the army and hanging out at the beach.

“I wish I’d been here last night, I would have hit the terrorist with my guitar and gotten a new one too.”              (Jerusalem Post)

IDF imposes siege on Palestinian villages in which terrorists lived

The IDF on Tuesday night imposed a blockade on the West Bank villages of the Palestinian terrorists who carried out stabbing attacks earlier in the day in the Israeli cities of Jaffa and Petah Tikva.

Also in light of intelligence information, police forces were carrying out searches at the house of another terrorist who shot and wounded two Border Police officers in an attack in Jerusalem.

According to Palestinian reports, the terrorist who killed an American tourist and wounded many others in a stabbing spree in Jaffa was identified as Bashar Massalha, 22, from the village of Uja in the Kalkiliya area. The reports noted that Massalha had returned from a visit to Saudi Arabia’s Mecca the week before.

The terrorist in the Petah Tikva stabbing that left one Israeli wounded was said to be Abed al-Rahman Radad a 17-year-old resident of the northern West Bank town of Zawiya.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held emergency consultations with his defense chiefs late Tuesday following the wave of terrorist attacks that gripped central Israel just hours earlier.

The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, the coordinator of government activities in the territories Yoav Mordechai, and representatives from the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

The meeting ended with the participants resolving to take a number of immediate steps aimed at stemming the tide of Palestinian violence, including: sealing the gaps in the fence which runs through the Jerusalem area; building a fence in the Tarkumiya region; advancing legislation that would levy penalties for those who aid and abet illegal aliens and labor migrants; shutting down media outlets that propagate incitement; and revoking work permits.             (Jerusalem Post)

Intel minister after attacks: Israel in ‘war against ISIS-style Muslim extremist terror’

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, who is a member of the security cabinet, on Tuesday night labeled the current wave of violence a “war.”

“We are in the midst of a war against ISIS-style Muslim extremist terror,” Katz told Channel 2. “We are in an emergency situation. There are murderers here who are motivated by hatred and we cannot allow Jews to continue to get harmed. There is an intifada of incitement. We must restore deterrence, so I must ask all the higher than thou who scold us to understand our current reality.”

The Likud minister said he would file his bill calling for the expulsion of terrorists’ family members Wednesday.

An American citizen was killed and at least 13 other people were wounded in a string of three separate terror attacks that rocked Israel on Tuesday.

The American and 10 others fell victims to a Palestinian terrorist who went on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa and southern Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening. Mere hours earlier, two Border Police officers were wounded by an Arab gunman in near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. Shortly beforehand, one Israeli was moderately wounded in a suspected terror stabbing in Petah Tikva.

All three attackers were killed.

In the face of the string of terror attacks, Interior Minister Arye Deri urged Israeli citizens to stand defiant.

While visiting a hospitalized victim from the Petah Tikva stabbing, Deri praised the wounded man for acting heroically during the attack.

“We must go on with our lives,” he said from Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva. “I trust in the police, the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and in the meantime we must all cope with this, and I have no doubt that we will succeed as we have in the past days of terror attacks.”

In light of the attacks, Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni implored the state to “think outside of the box in order to bypass the impasse” in combating the current wave of violence.

“It must be understood that if we continue in the same manner, the wave of terrorism will not disappear and the conflict will continue to sweep into Israel,” said the former justice minister.

Livni noted visiting US Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival on Tuesday, saying his trip could serve as an opportunity to “lower the flames” of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

A Channel 1 poll revealed Tuesday night found that 73 percent of Israelis are unsatisfied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the security situation, 23% are satisfied, and the rest did not answer or said they did not know.

Meanwhile, Hamas welcomed the attacks, saying they proved that the current wave of Palestinian violence has not desisted and that attempts to thwart it have not succeeded        (Jerusalem Post)

IDF can put Lebanon back 300 years if Hezbollah attacks, officer tells Saudi paper

A senior IDF officer told a Saudi newspaper on Monday that “the IDF could put Lebanon back 300 years and in parallel conquer the Gaza Strip and destroy all of its infrastructure.” The officer told journalist Majdi Halbi of the Elaph news site that despite the IDF capability, the army is subject to the political echelon that in the officer’s estimation will not order such action.

Regarding Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to target the ammonia plant in Haifa, the officer said Israel was prepared for such an attack and was aware that its strategic infrastructure could be cut off during a confrontation with the militant Shi’ite organization.

“The organization [Hezbollah] and its leader know very well what Israel’s reaction will be, so it will not set out on such an adventure,” he said.

The officer revealed that Israel sent messages to Hezbollah, via a third party country, warning it to think twice before attacking Israel and that it would regret the action.

“Just like what happened during the Second Lebanon War in 2006,” he added.

The officer said it was possible that Hezbollah was digging attack tunnels on the northern border with Israel, and that Hezbollah was expert in using tunnels in populated civilian areas during war but he didn’t expand further on the topic.

“Israel respects its enemies capabilities and assumes that they are capable of espionage. Nasrallah is a serious leader and he knows what Israel’s reaction will be if he attacks. He should leave the current situation on the border as it is without embarking on a path that will destroy everything that he has built,” the officer said.

On Gaza, the senior officer said it is a question of “when and not if” regarding the next military confrontation with the coastal enclave, adding that “such a clash could happen sooner rather than later due to the fact that Hamas’s situation is deteriorating.”

“We estimate that there are attack tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip into Israel but we do not have the ability to prevent all of them with 100 percent success. We are prepared for a confrontation that will bring about great destruction, but we hope that we will not get to this situation,” he said.               (Jerusalem Post)

Uruguay Jew stabbed to death in suspected anti-Semitic attack

Media outlets in Uruguay are reporting late Tuesday that a Jewish man from the town of Paysandu was stabbed to death.

The victim suffered serious wounds and later died in the hospital. Police are meanwhile questioning the suspect.

So far, investigators want to ascertain if anti-Semitism was the motive for the killing.

According to reports, the victim has been identified as David Fremd, a 54-year-old merchant. He is reported to have suffered stab wounds to the back just as he was crossing a street.

Fremd’s son is reported to have witnessed the attack. In coming to his father’s aid, he, too, was stabbed, though his wounds were not considered serious.

The man in police custody is reported to be 35 years old. He is said to have a criminal record.

Social media users speculated that the assailant shouted “Allahu akhbar” during the attack, though this has yet to be confirmed by authorities.           (Jerusalem Post)

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW