Israeli soldier killed in mall stabbing attack

Israeli police say suspect has been killed and they are investigating the incident as a possible ‘terror attack’.

An Israeli soldier has been killed and a second person was wounded in a stabbing attack in a shopping centre in northern Israel, police say, adding that the suspect was shot dead.

The attack took place on the second floor of the Hutzot Karmiel Mall in the northern Israeli city of Karmiel on Wednesday.

Gal Zeid, a spokesperson for Israel’s Galilee Medical Center, said doctors pronounced one man dead after failing to resuscitate him. The second person was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Police said the suspect, who was not named but identified as a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the town of Nahf, had been “neutralised”, and they were investigating the incident as a possible “terror attack”.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a post on Telegram described the attack as a “heroic operation.”

Israeli authorities arrested members of the suspect’s family, including his mother, brother and sister, according to Israeli media quoting Karmiel Police Chief Yitzhak Abuhatzira.

Video shared on social media, verified by Al Jazeera’s Sanad fact-checking agency, showed people in the mall trying to give first aid to a wounded victim who was wearing a green uniform.

The mall’s entrances were closed by police as they conducted extensive search and combing operations in the area, Israeli radio reported.

People gather outside a shopping mall following a stabbing attack in Karmiel, northern Israel July 3 2024. REUTERS/Avi Ohayon
People outside a shopping mall after a stabbing in Karmiel, northern Israel, July 3, 2024 [Avi Ohayon/Reuters]

Since Israel launched its war on Gaza in October last year, tensions between it and Palestinians have spiked.

Israel has killed nearly 38,000 Palestinians in its bombardment of Gaza and more than 500 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where it conducts near-daily raids.

Reporting from Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh said, “It’s impossible to separate what happens inside Israel with regard to the stabbing attack from the dynamics of occupation in the West Bank or the war in Gaza.”

“Tensions have been rising and they have been reaching boiling point,” Odeh said of the frequent army raids, rampages by Jewish settlers in Palestinian villages, and deadly street attacks.

Peace Now, an anti-settlement watchdog, said on Wednesday that Israeli authorities recently approved the seizure of 12.7sq km (4.9sq miles) of land in the occupied West Bank – the largest appropriation in more than three decades.

Since the start of the year, Israel has declared 23.7sq km (9.15sq miles) in the Palestinian territory as state land, it said.

“All this pushes Palestinians in despair and anger towards Israeli policies that push them out of their land and make their life unbearable, no matter where they are,” Odeh added.

On Wednesday, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said at least 37,953 people have been killed and 87,266 injured in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies