Israeli soldier stabbed to death in ‘terror attack’

Israeli security forces search area around Arad (01/12/17)Image copyright
Israeli police

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A search is under way for one or more suspected attackers

A soldier has been stabbed to death in southern Israel in what police say was a suspected terror attack.

Sgt Ron Isaac Kukia, 19, was killed at a bus stop in the city of Arad on Thursday night. Security forces are searching for at least one attacker.

The attack comes amid an increase in tension, after a Palestinian was shot dead by an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank earlier in the day.

Israel also struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation for mortar fire.

Hundreds of police and troops have been deployed around Arad and roadblocks have been set up in the hunt for suspects.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the “main direction of the investigation is that it is most probably a terrorist attack”.

Some 50 Israelis and five foreign nationals have been killed since late 2015 in a series of gun, knife, and car-ramming attacks, predominantly by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.

Around 300 Palestinians have also been killed in that period. Most were assailants, Israel says, while others were killed in clashes with troops.

Cross-border fire

Thursday night’s attack came hours after Israeli tank-fire and air strikes struck militant positions inside the Gaza Strip in response to mortar fire across the border into Israel.

At least 10 mortars landed, without causing casualties. Three Palestinians were lightly hurt by an air strike south of Gaza City, Palestinian sources in Gaza said.

Israel said it targeted sites belonging to the militant Islamist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad. An Israeli military spokesman indicated that Islamic Jihad was suspected of being behind the mortar fire, though no group has said it was responsible.

The mortar attacks came one month after 12 Islamic Jihad militants were killed when the Israeli military destroyed a tunnel they had dug under the border into Israel.

Islamic Jihad threatened at the time to take revenge for the deaths.

Israeli soldier stabbed to death in ‘terror attack’}

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