An 18-year-old yeshiva student was moderately wounded in an early morning stabbing attack at a bus stop near a synagogue in Beit Shemesh on Thursday.
The two terrorists were pushed back by civilians, preventing them from boarding a children’s bus, and then shot by a police officer who arrived at the scene. Both were critically wounded, and one of them succumbed to his wounds on the way to the hospital.
The wounded Israeli was taken to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem, suffering from stab wounds to his upper body.
This is the first such attack to strike the city in the current wave of terror.
The two terrorists, who were wearing t-shirts with the logo of Hamas’ mlitary wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were identified by Palestinian sources as Mekdad Mohammed Ibrahim Alehih, 21, and Mahmoud Khaled Mahmoud Ghneimat, 20, both from the town of Tzurif near Hebron.
Ghneimat served time in an Israeli prison from 2012-2014 after being caught with a knife at the Cave of the Patriarchs. Alehih is a Hamas operative, who took part in activities organized by Hamas’ students union.
The incident is the latest in a wave of near-daily attacks on Israelis by Palestinian or Arab attackers. Ten Israelis have been killed over the last month, mainly in stabbing attacks. On the Palestinian side, 47 people have been killed, 26 of them attackers, the others killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
The violence erupted a month ago, fueled by rumors that Israel was plotting to take over the Temple Mount, a sensitive Jerusalem holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims. The violence was initially confined to traditionally Arab East Jerusalem but soon spread deep into Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Diplomatic efforts have kicked off in a bid to quell the violence. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a visit to the region this week and then offered the Security Council a grim assessment of prospects for defusing the violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Germany on Wednesday, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and is set to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan this weekend.