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Israeli woman stabbed, injured in Bedouin town in the Negev

Feb. 6, 2016 5:40 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2016 10:05 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli woman was injured in a stabbing attack in a predominantly Bedouin city in the Negev region on Saturday, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri told Ma’an that a Jewish Israeli woman in her sixties was stabbed at a market in the town of Rahat in central Israel.

The suspected attacker -- believed to be a woman -- fled the scene, she added, saying that Israeli forces were searching the area and still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Al-Samri said Israeli security forces were investigating the attack as being "apparently nationalistically motivated."

She added that the Israeli woman was taken to a hospital in Beersheba, and that she was in moderate to serious condition.

Rahat is the largest Bedouin settlement in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories, and the only one to be recognized as a city by Israeli authorities.

Bedouins in Israel live mainly in 45 unrecognized villages scattered primarily in the region between Beersheba and Arad. They are the remnants of the Bedouin population that lived across the Negev desert until 1948, when 90 percent were expelled by Israel and the remainder confined to a closed reservation.

The majority of Bedouins in Israel and the West Bank live a relatively settled but still semi-nomadic lifestyle, residing in permanent villages but pasturing livestock in adjacent areas.

Israeli restrictions on movement and demolition policies have severely impacted Bedouins' traditional lifestyle and quality of life.
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