An IDF soldier was lightly injured by an Arab terrorist in Ashkelon Sunday morning. The incident occurred at the city’s Central Bus Station. The soldier was treated at the scene and taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon for further treatment.
After the attack, the stabber managed to get away. Initial reports said that he grabbed the soldier’s weapon and ran away, but that turned out to be incorrect. Police, soldiers and a large number of passersby, many of whom had weapons, chased after the terrorist, who had run into a residential neighborhood near the bus station. Cornering him, a police officer opened fire, injuring him critically.
The terrorist was taken to Barzilai Hospital for treatment as well. He later died of his wounds. Police said the stabber was a Sudanese foreign national but they still believe the attack to be politically motivated.
If that motive is confirmed, it would be the first such attack by a foreigner during a four-month-old surge of Palestinian street violence.
Thousands of Sudanese have entered Israel illegally through neighboring Egypt in recent years, some seeking work and others asylum. Israel’s efforts to repatriate them have been hampered by the fact it has no ties with Sudan, a Muslim country.
“The behavior, the location, the flight, the targeting of a soldier – all of these add up to a nationalistic attack,” Ashkelon police chief Shimon Portal told reporters.
He said there was no indication of an event that might have precipitated the knife attack. Before he died, the wounded terrorist “mumbled a few unclear statements in Arabic but otherwise did not say a word,” Portal said.
A police spokeswoman said efforts to identify the terrorist “thus far” had determined he was Sudanese. She did not elaborate on what he had been doing in Israel.