Fox News is reporting that a Palestinian man stabbed 11 people on a bus in Tel Aviv during the morning rush hour. The assailant was shot by corrections officers and taken into custody, according to officials.
Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posted a message on Twitter saying that authorities believe the incident is a terror attack. Eleven people were stabbed and three remain in critical condition, according to Lee Gat, a spokeswoman at Tel Hashomer hospital, and a statement from the Ichilov hospital.
Rosenfeld said the suspect is a 23-year-old man from Tulkarem, located in the West Bank northeast of Tel Aviv. He said the man was being questioned by police and a heightened security presence was in effect in Israel’s second-largest city. The Times of Israel reported that the suspect was shot in the leg as he attempted to flee the scene.
Tel Aviv District Police Chief Bentzi Sau said that members of the Israel Prison Service were in a vehicle behind the bus and noticed it driving erratically. Sau said officers then jumped out of their vehicle and pursued the suspect when they saw him get off the bus. He added that the suspect had crossed into Israel illegally, but did not specify how.
The stabbing is the latest in a type of “lone-wolf” attacks that have plagued Israel in recent months. About a dozen people have been killed in Palestinian attacks, including five people killed with guns and meat cleavers in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue.
The article goes on to note that Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, took no responsibility for the attack, but praised it as “brave and heroic.” A spokesman for the group stated that the attack is a “natural response to the occupation and its terrorist crimes against our people.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack a “direct result of the poisonous incitement being disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against the Jews and their state,” adding, “rhis same terrorism is trying to attack us in Paris, Brussels and everywhere.”