TEL AVIV – Following a stabbing attack on Saturday, a group of Israeli bystanders assaulted a Bedouin Arab, mistaking him for a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed five people, Israeli website Ynet reported. Yet the 40-year-old man did not condemn his attackers. “I wouldn’t want those who hurt me to be punished. The terrorist did something bad to them.”
The victim, Salem, endured a harrowing stabbing attack in the southern town of Kiryat Gat in a violent case of mistaken identity. It lasted almost five minutes before a policeman and another civilian managed to stop the assault. “Civilians who saw me stabbed me in the back. I told them ‘I’m not the terrorist,’ but they kept stabbing again and again for a long while,” said Salem. “I told the people who hit me that I was an Israeli, but they didn’t listen, they went on and on.”
The victim, who is being treated in a hospital in nearby Ashkelon, was due to begin working as a security guard at Intel. “They know me in Kiryat Gat. There’s a shop in town that I always come to and have coffee with the shopkeeper. I also have a lot of Jewish friends in town,” Salem said.
Salem said his family is unaware that he was attacked. “I have small children and they don’t know about what happened.”
Despite his injuries, Salem remains magnanimous. “The terrorist did something bad to them, you can understand them,” he said. However, he added that he is now scared to walk down the street and barely leaves his home.
The real perpetrator of the stabbing attack was an 18-year-old Palestinian working illegally in Israel. Hours after the incident, security forces captured the terrorist in the backyard of a local resident, the bloody knife still on his person. The owner of the house was asleep at the time and unaware that the terrorist was hiding in his backyard. Two other illegal Palestinian workers were arrested on suspicion of aiding the attacker.
Apart from Salem, four people sustained injuries in the attack, including a 13-year-old girl, two women aged 44 and 58, and a 51-year-old man.