An Arab terrorist was thwarted in an attempted stabbing attack on Monday afternoon, but since fleeing the scene remains at large, raising questions about the IDF opening fire protocols.
The attack attempt took place at Habitot Junction located in Samaria, near the Arab town of Huwara to the south of Shechem (Nablus).
The terrorist ran at an IDF force at the junction, which is near Kfar Tapuach, and in response the soldiers conducted the standard procedures, which include shouting out in Arabic for him to stop and then firing in the air before firing at the lower body.
Apparently at the stage of firing in the air the terrorist turned and fled, and the soldiers did not shoot him as he no longer presented an immediate threat to their lives.
IDF forces are currently scouring the area for the armed and dangerous terrorist, who was left alive despite his attempt to attack with a lethal weapon due to the opening fire protocols.
The incident comes as the topic of open-fire procedures are being closely examined, after IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot last Wednesday defended the strict protocols saying soldiers must not "empty magazines" into a 13-year-old female terrorist wielding scissors. He also disparaged a famous Talmudic maxim on self-defense, saying "the IDF cannot speak in slogans like 'when someone comes to kill you – kill him first.'"
Eizenkot's statements stirred an outcry, although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home chairperson Naftali Bennett came to his defense. A poll Sunday found the majority of Israeli Jews oppose Eizenkot's words.
Regarding the open-fire orders, last August the protocols were made even tighter, mandating soldiers in Judea and Samaria to only fire in the air, and not even shoot the lower extremities of an attacker other than in extreme cases of imminent life-threatening danger. In May, it was reported that IDF soldiers were told to avoid killing terrorists, even if they spot them as they are about to throw a potentially lethal firebomb or rock at a car.
Habitot Junction has become something of a hot spot for attacks, as just a day earlier on Sunday another Arab terrorist arrived at the junction and tried to stab soldiers. In that incident, the terrorist was shot and eliminated before being able to cause injuries.
That stabbing attempt was one of three attempts Sunday; a 14-year-old Arab terrorist tried to conduct a stabbing at Sde Kalev near Hevron in Judea, but was shot by security forces and arrested.
Earlier a 17-year-old from Kusra in Samaria was arrested at Tapuach Junction after raising the suspicions of Border Police officers. He approached the security forces and refused calls to stop, before eventually raising his hands – the alert officers noticed that as he did so he threw aside a knife. The terrorist admitted he planned to conduct an attack after watching inciting videos on social media.