Israeli soldier fatally stabbed on bus

Police say 16-year-old Palestinian boy claimed he carried out Afula attack because his uncles were in prison in Israel

An Israeli soldier has been stabbed to death on a bus in northern Israel by a 16-year-old Palestinian youth who told police he was acting in revenge for the imprisonment by Israel of members of his family.

The 18-year-old soldier, who was in uniform and travelling to an army base, died at Afula hospital after being stabbed in the neck and chest at the town’s bus station. His assailant, who entered Israel illegally from his home town of Jenin in the West Bank, was overpowered by bystanders.

Police said the youth acted from nationalist motives. “He says that his uncles are in Israeli prisons, and this is the reason that he decided to commit the stabbing,” said Israel’s northern police commander, Ronny Attia.

The incident occurred at about 8.30am on a bus en route from Nazareth to Tel Aviv. A paramedic who responded to an emergency call said: “A man aged about 18 was seated in one of the seats near the back of the bus. He was conscious, and had been stabbed several times all over his body. He was in a very bad state.”

The attack follows a rise in violence in the West Bank, where 10 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops and three Israelis have been killed since peace talks resumed in July. In the past week, two Palestinians have been shot dead in separate incidents at checkpoints. Security forces said one had brandished a knife and the other fired a flare gun or firework.

Last week the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories could increase if the peace talks failed to reach a deal to end the decades-old conflict. “The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” Kerry said in a television interview. “I mean does Israel want a third intifada [uprising]?

“Israel says, ‘Oh, we feel safe today, we have the wall. We’re not in a day-to-day conflict’. I’ve got news for you. Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s.”

According to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, there were 4,806 Palestinian security prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails at the end of September. A further 1,280 Palestinians were in prison for being in Israel illegally. Most Palestinian families have experience of a relative in prison.

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