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Three injured in stabbing attack at shopping mall in Israel’s south, assailant killed

Second stabbing attack of the day as authorities fear escalation of Ramadan violence

Police and rescue forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in Gan Yavne, March 31, 2024. Photo by Liron Moldovan/Flash90

Three young men were seriously wounded in a stabbing attack at a shopping mall in Gan Yavne, in southern Israel Sunday night. 

The injured included two men in their twenties and a 17-year-old youth with stab wounds, who were initially taken to Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod by Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services. 

Due to the severity of their injuries, the two men were subsequently relocated to specialized medical facilities: one to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and the other to the neurosurgery department at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for the treatment of critical stab wounds to his head.

According to preliminary reports, the assailant was a resident of Dura near Hebron in southern Judea and Samaria. He entered Israel without a permit, arrived at the shopping center with two knives, and began to attack. 

He stabbed two of the victims in a gym at the shopping mall before exiting, where he stabbed the third victim. 

In security footage uploaded to social media, the perpetrator can be seen stabbing two men in the gym before leaving. 

A police officer and security worker arrived at the scene when the suspect ran towards them and attempted to stab the security worker. The security worker managed to dodge the attack, and the police officer drew his weapon and neutralized the assailant.

Israel Levy, who works at a pizzeria near the scene of the attack, told N12 News, “We were sitting in the pizzeria. Suddenly, we heard screams, we saw people around the gym fighting with the terrorist, and then they shouted at us to run away, we ran fast, then we heard bursts of gunshots.” 

The assailant, whose name has not been released yet, allegedly entered Israel through a gap in the border fence, according to southern district police commander Amir Cohen. Cohen also said that police were investigating if the individual was employed at the mall illegally.

According to reports from Israeli media, the 17-year-old was taken for surgery due to multiple stab wounds but his condition is not considered life-threatening. The two adult men were said to have serious head injuries. At the time of publication, there was no update on their condition. 

The attack at the shopping mall was the second stabbing incident on Sunday, following a previous attack in the southern city of Beersheva that injured two. 

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called for increased police presence and more weapons permits for civilians to help neutralize attacks. 

“We’re at war, and certainly the enemy has more motivation to harm us,” Ben Gvir said. 

Security officials are concerned that Ramadan could see an increase in the number of attacks by so-called “lone wolf” terrorists. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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