The PJ Tatler

State Dept. Tells Israel to 'De-escalate Tensions' After Bloody Day of Terrorist Stabbings

The State Department called upon Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “de-escalate tensions” after two Israelis were killed in separate stabbings by terrorists Monday.

Almog Shiloni, 20, served in the Israel Air Force and was attacked in the afternoon near the Haganah train station in south Tel Aviv. He died of his wounds at the hospital.

Nur a-Din Hashiya, from the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, was apprehended in the attack, Haaretz reported, adding he had entered the country illegally.

“It just can’t be like this,” the victim’s twin brother told media. “There are soldiers and people getting hurt, being stabbed in the streets. You can’t go out in this country alone, you can’t go out into this country quietly. This is our state, we fought for it, and my twin brother fought for his life.”

Hours after Shiloni was attacked, another knife-wielding terrorist struck again at a bus stop in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.

Dalia Lemkus, 26, was stabbed in the neck and killed. Two men, including one driving by who stopped to fight the terrorist, were injured. A security guard shot the attacker, Maher Hamdi al-Hashalmoun from Hebron, who survived. The Times of Israel reported that al-Hashalmoun, affiliated with Islamic Jihad, spent time in Israeli prison.

Lemkus had survived a stabbing eight years ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his security council after the attacks.

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki called the brutal stabbings “unfortunately a couple of events.”

“So let me just speak to all of them. We strongly condemn the stabbings – the stabbing today in the West Bank and we deeply regret the loss of life. Our condolences go out to the victim’s family. It is absolutely critical that parties take every possible measure to protect civilians and de-escalate tensions,” Psaki said.

“We are also seeking additional information surrounding the incident of the Israeli Arab who was shot with – who was shot as well with a live bullet. We’re looking for information surrounding this incident. We’re in touch – close touch with the Ministry of Justice. And of course, we urge all parties to exercise restraint. Obviously, these events happened over the course of the last 12 to 24 hours, so I don’t have more details than what’s been out there at this point.”

The shooting early Saturday came as Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan reportedly approached police wielding a knife. Netanyahu has stood by the officers even as some are disputing the officers’ account of firing a warning shot first.

Psaki said when she talks about “restraint,” she’s “talking about the Israelis, the Palestinians – any who are involved in these tension-raising, rhetoric-raising incidents.”

“If you’re standing at a bus stop or something and someone runs a car into you or comes up and stabs you, I don’t know how – I mean, those people aren’t – don’t need to exercise restraint, do they?” a reporter asked.

“I think I’m referring to the fact that we know that there have been – there’s been rising tensions in the region that has led to some of these incidents. I think we all are aware of that,” Psaki replied.

“…Obviously, there have been a range of issues and events that have led to the rising tensions in the region that both sides need to do more to fix.”