Jerusalem: Palestinian attackers unleashed a series of shooting and stabbing assaults on Israelis, including a stabbing spree in the ancient Mediterranean port city of Jaffa that killed an American tourist near where Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with Israel’s former president, police said.
The Jaffa assault yesterday came as Biden arrived on a two-day visit as part of a regional tour of the Mideast. He is to meet both Israeli and Palestinian leaders and there have been speculations he would try to revive the moribund Israeli- Palestinian peace talks.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the man killed in Jaffa was an American tourist, but further details were not immediately available. A dozen Israelis, civilians and police officers, were wounded in the Palestinian knife and gun attacks.
Along with the Jaffa attacker, three other Palestinian assailants were shot and killed in the day’s rash of violence, the latest in a wave of near-daily Palestinian assaults on Israeli civilians and security forces that erupted in mid- September.
The bloodshed mainly stabbings but also shootings and car- ramming attacks has killed 28 Israelis. During the same time, at least 176 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Most of the Palestinians have been identified by Israel as attackers, while the rest were killed in clashes with security forces.
In the Jaffa attack, Israeli Channel 2 TV interviewed a man identified only by his first name, Yishai, who described how he confronted the Palestinian as he stabbing people in the street.
“I was sitting down playing guitar and I heard screaming from across the street,” said the man, who wore a T-shirt of the rock band Tool. “I saw a man run at me with a knife, I ran at him with the guitar and smashed it in his head. He was so stunned and didn’t know what to do with himself and then started running away.”
Police said the attacker then ran toward the beach and continued attacking passers-by before he was shot and killed. Meanwhile, Biden was meeting with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace, not far from the attack in Jaffa.
“I notified the Vice President on the terrible incident that took place just a few hundred meters away from here in Jaffa,” Peres said. “Terror leads to nowhere.”
Biden “condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal attack which occurred in Jaffa,” his office said.