Jerusalem, Oct 12 (IANS) An Arab Israeli citizen injured four Israelis in a combined run-over and stabbing attack on Sunday, amidst surging violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
The suspect was arrested, but large police forces are canvassing the area where the attack took place in search for a second suspect, who allegedly assisted the attacker, Israeli police spokesperson Luba Samri said, Xinhua reported.
The incident occurred in a shopping centre near the community of Gan Shmuel in central Israel. Samri said the attacker ran his car over a 19-year-old woman soldier and then went out of his vehicle, stabbing three other people.
Rescue services said the soldier was taken to hospital in a critical condition. The other victims were lightly wounded.
Samri said the suspect holds Israeli ID, according to local Channel 2 TV news, he is a resident of Um al-Fahem, a large northern Arab city of Israel.
A month-long escalation in violence over East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound has also swept Israeli Arab citizens.
Thousands took the streets over the weekend in protests against the Israeli government and the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, since the 1967 Mideast War.
Earlier on Sunday, a 31-year-old Palestinian woman was critically injured after she drove her car to the a-Zaim checkpoint east of Jerusalem and set off a gas cylinder. An Israeli police officer was lightly wounded due to the explosion.
Four Israelis died in militant attacks this week, as stabbing attacks became a daily occurrence throughout Israel in the past several days.
At least 11 Palestinians died in the past week, some in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and Gaza protests. Several others were shot dead by Israeli security forces after allegedly trying to commit stabbing attacks.
Dozens of Israelis and more than 1,000 Palestinians were injured in the past week amid the surge in violence, Israelis wounded in stabbing attacks and from rock throwing, and Palestinians injured mostly by riots dispersal measure deployed by Israeli security services, including live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Arab Israelis are Palestinians who stayed in Israel following its establishment in 1948, becoming full-fledged citizens. They constitute 20 percent of the Israeli population.
Israel controls more than 2.5 million Palestinians living in east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, on lands Israel occupied during the 1967 Mideast War.
No peace talks are conducted between the parties, after the last round of talks reached an impasse in April 2014.