TEL AVIV (May. 25)
A Gaza Strip Arab who stabbed 15-year-old Helena Rapp to death at a school-bus stop in Bat Yam on Sunday morning was captured shortly after the assault and taken into custody before mobs of enraged Jews could harm him.
The attack followed the non-fatal stabbing of a yeshiva student in Jerusalem last Friday and was the third knife attack by Arabs on Jews in Israel this month.
The latest victim was buried at the Holon cemetery Monday.
Anti-Arab riots broke out in Bat Yam, a seaside town south of Tel Aviv, immediately after the murder and spread to Rishon le-Zion and other areas. At least seven Arab laborers were attacked and injured, two of them by stabbing.
Rioters followed the lead of members of the anti-Arab Kach movement in the attacks. The black-on-yellow fist that is the emblem of the movement created by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane was seen raised above the marauding crowds.
Rocks were hurled at Arab cars, and some were overturned. A police officer suffered a serious head injury when struck by an iron bar thrown by a rioter.
At least 30 Jews were arrested, 12 in Rishon le-Zion and 18 in Bat Yam. One rioter being held was an off-duty border policeman.
The Gaza Strip was ordered sealed off for three days to prevent residents from entering Israel until tempers cool.
Helena Rapp’s attacker was identified as Fuad Abdul Atti Amran, 19, an unemployed construction worker from the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
He carried an official magnetized identification card issued by the security authorities which permit Gaza Arabs to enter Israel to seek work as day laborers. Ostensibly, the holders have been checked for security and criminal records.
‘SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHOT’
Amran reportedly confessed to the killing. He told police he was disgruntled after failing to find work with Jewish building contractors and bought a knife to kill Jews.
According to police, Rapp and a friend were waiting for a bus to school outside her home on Rehov Ben-Gurion, Bat Yam’s main street, at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
A car identified by its blue license plates as being from the administered territories drew up and the assailant, holding a knife, jumped out and lunged at Rapp’s companion. She dodged and the man turned on Rapp, stabbing her deeply several times in the left armpit.
She was pronounced dead by a Magen David Adom paramedic a half hour later.
An Israeli air force major passing by saw the attack and fired his pistol at Amran. Another Israel Defense Force officer fired from a passing bus. Both missed.
But a taxi chasing the fleeing man cut him off, and the driver pinned him down with the knife now pointing at the killer’s throat.
Eyewitnesses to the killing said they saw a second Arab with a knife at the scene who slipped away. Police said the mob violence that followed the killing hampered their search.
Angry crowds, exhorted to revenge by members of the Kach movement, stampeded through the town waving large Israeli flags and shouting “Death to the Arabs.” Passersby they thought looked like Arabs were accosted.
Amran, however, was handed over to police unharmed.
News of the tragedy reached Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir at a meeting with leaders of the National Religious Party late Sunday afternoon. He told them the assailant “should have been shot.”
The victim of the Jerusalem stabbing Friday was reported recovering from moderate chest wounds at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Ein Kerem. He was identified as Yosef Grumann, 15, a student at the Toldot Aharon yeshiva in the Mea Shearim neighborhood.
He was returning from prayers at the Western Wall at about noon when he was knifed from behind in his left shoulder as he passed an Arab bakery. The attacker fled and has not been apprehended.
Grumann extracted the knife from his back and searched for help. A passerby took him to the hospital.
Earlier this month, two Jewish youths were attacked in downtown Jerusalem by an Arab resident of the Dehaishe refugee camp. One of them was slightly injured. Their assailant was captured on the spot.