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Palestinian Terrorist Injures 13 in Tel Aviv Bus Stabbing

By DEBKAfile, Israel Hayom , &

In a stabbing attack on a Tel Aviv bus Wednesday, a Palestinian terrorist injured 13 people – four seriously. He was shot and wounded in flight from the bus by police and passengers in pursuit. The attacker was identified under interrogation as a Palestinian from Tulkarem who had entered Israel illegally. The 40 bus was driving along the Begin highway past the Maariv Bridge in rush hour traffic, when the knifeman struck, starting with the bus driver and continuing to attack passengers.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino announced that the terror alert had been raised across the country to the highest level, hours after the attack. The driver though badly hurt managed to pull the bus away from the Maariv Bridge on the Begin Highway and save it from crashing. After urgent surgery in hospital, he is still in danger from exceptionally deep stab wounds to vital organs. Three passengers also remain in critical condition.

The Palestinian male from Tulkarem, who had entered Israel illegally, boarded Dan Bus No. 40, which was making its way from Bat Yam to northern Tel Aviv, at the Maariv junction. The terrorist pulled out a knife and stabbed the driver, who fought back and sprayed him with pepper spray, and a number of passengers before fleeing the bus. He then stabbed several nearby pedestrians.

The terrorist, who was later identified in media reports as Hamza Matrouk, was shot in the leg by Israel Prison Service personnel who happened to be passing by the scene at the time of the attack. The IPS personnel detained the terrorist, who was lightly wounded, until police arrived to arrest him. He was then transported to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

The Israelis wounded in the attack were transported to Sourasky Medical Center or Sheba Medical Center for treatment. Dr. Pini Halperin, head of the emergency room at Sourasky, said, "The terrorist tried to harm as many people as possible. He struck each wounded person at least once or twice. It appears he used a very sharp knife."

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq called the attack "brave and heroic," saying it was a carried out by a "hero. This was a natural response of the Palestinian people to the crimes of the brutal Zionist occupier," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was "the direct result of the poisonous incitement being disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against the Jews and their state. This same terrorism is trying to attack us in Paris, Brussels and everywhere.

"It is Hamas -- the partners [of PA President Mahmoud Abbas] in a unity government -- who hastened to commend this attack. This is the same Hamas that announced it will sue Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Abu Mazen [Abbas] is responsible for both the incitement and the dangerous move at the ICC in The Hague. We will continue to take strong action against the terrorism that has been trying to attack us since the founding of the state, and we will see to it that it does not achieve its goal."

Ilanit, one of the passengers on the bus told Arutz Sheva about the horrific experience in which she saw the terrorist stab other passengers. "I was on the bus - it was 7:30 in the morning," said Ilanit. "Suddenly I heard screams, and I suddenly saw someone next to the driver with a huge knife, stabbing the driver and stabbing the people, and people ran to the back and he ran after other people, and people were covered in blood."

Ilanit succeeded in escaping from the rear door of the bus that was pushed open. "The bus continued driving and couldn't stop because the driver was wounded, somehow we opened the door by pushing and people fell out and ran for cover, and then I called the police; I saw horrific sights. We opened the door by pushing, it (the bus) was full of people and full of screams," she said.

The passenger on the ill-fated bus told Arutz Sheva she wasn't ready to travel to the hospital yet and preferred to stay at home to calm down from the harrowing experience. "Now I ran from there directly home, how will I got to work like this; God protected me," she said. "From now on I'm afraid to ride a bus, I took a taxi home; what I want is to be at home, I didn't want to go to the hospital, I didn't want anything."

Describing her situation, Ilanit added "I was wounded a bit in the knees, maybe afterwards I'll go to Wolfson (Hospital), but now I want first of all to go home and calm down with my husband." In Tulkarm, the home of Hamza Matrouk, residents praised the attack, calling the terrorist a "real man" and a "hero." Matrouk's family received a lot of support from residents of Tulkarm, including phone calls from people praising the attack.

In the wake of the terror attack in Tel Aviv and rising tensions in northern Israel, the US Embassy issued a travel warning to its personnel, barring them from using public buses in Israel and the West Bank and from coming near Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria. American visitors to Israel are advised not to use public transport in Israel and the West Bank.

Matrouk is the son of a security prisoner who married three women. The terrorist lived with his divorced mother in Ramallah and worked in electricity. He would come to Tulkarm once every two months.

"We saw him sitting next to the house with some friends yesterday. He ate dinner at a kiosk, drank and laughed. He didn't show any signs he wanted or intended to stab Jews," a Tulkarm resident said. "He wasn't affiliated with any political or religious organization. I don't think this was revenge because there weren't any special incidents recently, it's more a result of the mental and social situation he and his family had gotten into."

One of those who saw Matrouk on Tuesday said that he was talking about trying to find a job in Tel Aviv. "He took a ride with a driver bringing workers from the territories to Jerusalem and from there probably drove into Israel in an Israeli vehicle," he said.

On Facebook, some of Matrouk's friends wrote on his wall, praising him. "Personally, I'm very proud of him for doing something like that," one of the friends wrote. "I was surprised when I heard he was able to hurt 12 passengers on his own. This kind of act proves how strong he is and that he's a real man. You usually hear that a Palestinian hurt one or two people, we need to learn from him."

Security prisoner Tariq Fayyat, who lives in the same neighborhood, said such an act was to be expected. "This is a normal reaction to the criminal acts the Israeli army commits in the territories and in Jerusalem. No one is condemning this act, it was expected. We also suffer and live in a very difficult atmosphere. We all pray that Allah will give Hamza strength and have mercy on his family."

The 'Magic Kippah': Is It the Solution for Anti-Semitism?


Has the solution for anti-Semitic violence been found? A French hairdresser, Shalom "Shuli" Koresh, thinks so. His Magic Kippah is made of real or synthetic hair – depending on the client's preference – and costs between 49 and 79 Euros, depending also on the client's type of hair.

What makes the Magic Kippah so "magical"? Does it fire bullets at attackers or create a defensive force field? Well, not quite. It simply blends in with the wearer's hair, thus making it nearly invisible to people who look at him.

"The idea came to me when I saw the problem of anti-Semitism in France and Belgium, and I thought of a solution that would raise the Jews' feeling of confidence as they walked on the streets," Koresh told Channel 10. Koresh said that the recent spate of terror has raised the demand for his kippah.

French Jewish community activist Avraham Azulai, who ran for a spot on Jewish Home's Knesset list, recently told Arutz Sheva that "Jews are afraid to walk around in a manner that will allows someone to identify them as Jewish." He said that "the many anti-Semitic incidents in the country, combined with the recession there, is a very unhealthy atmosphere. The Israeli government must take steps to enable and encourage French Jews to immigrate to Israel. I do not see a future for the Jews there; the 'exile of France' is about to end," he said.

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