Two Palestinian teenagers reported to be 14-years-old stabbed two Israeli shoppers at an Israeli supermarket Thursday, killing a 21-year-old man, before they were shot and wounded by an armed civilian, eyewitnesses and Israeli police said.
The teens entered the Rami Levy supermarket in an area of the West Bank north of Jerusalem, then began stabbing the two men. Shoppers at first fought back with grocery carts after which the armed civilian shot the assailants, Israel’s Ynet reported.
Photos posted online testified to the violent scene:
Police officers at scene of supermarket stabbing attack in which 2 Israelis were stabbed. Security measures continue pic.twitter.com/NPVMiDvE2p— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) February 18, 2016
When was the last time you carelessly walked through the supermarket? This is the aftermath of today's attack. pic.twitter.com/bGtjq6ORTY— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) February 18, 2016
An eyewitness named Uziel told Army Radio that the supermarket had been packed, which is typical on Thursdays before the weekend.
“I was in the middle of selecting vegetables inside when suddenly we heard screaming. Everyone immediately knew it was a terror attack,” he said.
Uziel said he was shocked by how young the attackers appeared to be. “They both looked very young, children. … Everyone was shocked that they were kids. At least, they looked very young,” he said.
The civilian who shot the attackers told Ynet that he "entered the store and heard screams."
"I spotted one of the terrorists and shot him," he added. "There were soldiers and citizens there."
The Times of Israel quoted paramedic Shalom Galil who initially treated the stab victim who was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“We found him between the aisles in the supermarket with stab wounds to his upper body,” Galil said.
Rami Levy, the supermarket chain owner, has previously expressed his commitment to creating an atmosphere where Jews and Palestinians can shop and work side-by-side.
According to Channel 2, Thursday’s attack was the fourth terrorist attack carried out at the Rami Levy chain.
“We employ without regard to religion, race or nationality. I will continue to do so. Those extremists have a goal to deepen the conflict. I won’t give them the chance,” Levy told reporters at the market after Thursday’s attack.
The slain man — whose name was not immediately released — was the father of a baby girl, Israel’s Channel 2 television reported. The second victim, a 36-year-old Israeli man, was moderately wounded.
Israel’s Channel 2 television reported that the attackers were taken to Jerusalem hospitals for treatment. The Times of Israel described their condition as serious.
Israel has faced a wave of nearly daily Palestinian stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks that began in September. Many of the assailants have been teenagers, a phenomenon the Israeli government attributes to incitement to violence in Palestinian media outlets and on social media.