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12 injured in Tel Aviv stab attack by Palestinian

Jan. 21, 2015 12:11 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2015 5:37 P.M.)
TEL AVIV (AFP) -- A Palestinian attacked passengers with a knife on a bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday wounding at least 12 people before being shot by a passing prison officer, Israeli police said.

Twelve people were wounded in the attack, including three who were in serious condition, four in moderate condition and five who sustained light injuries, hospital sources said.

Another seven people were treated for shock.

"The terrorist stabbed the bus driver several times but the driver fought back until he fled on foot and was neutralized by a guard from the prisons' service," a police statement said.

He was shot in the leg then taken to hospital for further investigation.

It was the first attack in Tel Aviv since mid-November when a young Israeli soldier was stabbed to death by a Palestinian.

The Hamas movement's leadership praised the attack, calling it a "natural reaction" by people suffering under occupation.

Deputy head of Hamas Mousa Abu Marzouq said that "there is no bigger terrorism than occupying people, stealing their lands, freedom and dignity."

Ahmad Bahr, deputy head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, also praised the attack, which he described as self-defense.

Bahr said in a statement that the "negotiations path" followed by the Palestinian Authority was a waste of time and a chance for Israel to "Judaize" what is left of Jerusalem and expand its settlements.

He called on the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to abandon negotiations and return to resistance.

The Popular Resistance Committees also applauded the stabbing attack, which it described as a "natural reaction to all Israeli crimes against Palestinians, their lands and religious sites."

The PRC added in a statement that "resistance attacks will not stop."

The statement called for a complete intifada inside Israel and to support Palestinians in the Negev.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the attack as a direct result of incitement by the Palestinian Authority of president Mahmoud Abbas.

"The attack in Tel Aviv is a direct result of poisonous incitement from the Palestinian Authority towards Jews and their state. This is the same terror which tried to harm us in Paris, Brussels and everywhere," he said on his Facebook page.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a statement blaming the attack on Abbas, Hamas, Israeli Bedouin and Arab Israeli politicians, saying it was part of a broader plot to kill Jews.

"They are all parts of the same branch whose aim is to destroy the Jewish state," he said.

"So we must work determinedly against all of these people, who... have the same aim: to kill Jews and to destroy Israel."

Palestinian security sources identified the attacker as 23-year-old Hamza Muhammad Hasan Matrouk from Tulkarem refugee camp in the northern West Bank.

Locals from the camp told Ma'an that Hamza was not affiliated to any political faction. They said that Israeli forces summoned his father and other family members for questioning at offices of the Israeli military liaison department.

"Last night Hamza and I hung out with friends in the camp until 11 p.m. and we had fun," a friend of Hamza's told Ma'an. He added that he didn't notice anything unusual with Hamza.

"He was laughing and kidding and I know very well that he isn't affiliated to any faction."

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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