Israeli Stabbed to Death in Gaza, As Tensions Rise in Territories

An Israeli civilian was fatally stabbed in the center of Gaza Sunday afternoon. The victim, identified as Shlomo Takal, 45, was taken to a hospital by local Arabs. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police immediately clamped a curfew on Falastin Square, where the attack occurred, and began a house-to-house search for the assailant.

Takal, a plastics salesman from Bat Yam, a town south of Tel Aviv, frequently did business in Gaza. He was talking to a shopkeeper when he was stabbed from behind in the back of his neck.

The attack raised tensions among Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip, already angered by the arrest over the weekend of Shimon Yifrah, a settler from Neve Dekalim, who has been charged by police with the fatal shooting last month of a 17-year-old Arab high school girl, Intissar Abdallah Al-Atar.

Yifrah, 30, allegedly opened fire when his car was stoned by schoolgirls outside a Gaza Strip refugee camp.

Tempers also boiled in the West Bank, where a roadside bomb damaged the car of Knesset member Eliezer Waldman on the Hebron-Jerusalem road, near the Arab town of Halhoul.

No one was hurt but the windshield of Waldman’s car was shattered. Waldman, who represents the ultranationalist Tehiya party, was driving from his home in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, on his way to a lecture in Jerusalem.

A curfew was imposed on Halhoul Saturday while security forces searched the area. The incident was the second of its kind in two weeks in Halhoul. The earlier bombing caused no damage.

Meanwhile, a large explosive charge found in Rishon LeZion Sunday evening was safely dismantled by police sappers.

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