The 19-year old Israeli soldier, Ron Yitzhak Kukiya, from Tel Aviv was stabbed from behind by one or more Palestinian terrorists after dark on Thursday, Nov. 30 while waiting at a bus stop in the center of the southern town of Arad, according to an army spokesman. It is presumed that an accomplice snatched his sidearm. Paramedics alerted to the scene by passersby were unable to save the soldier’s life despite intense efforts. Security forces in the southern region set up roadblocks for a massive manhunt and went on high terror alert for potential shooting attacks. According to DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources, the security authorities are not ruling out the possibility that the Arad attack was perpetrated by a Palestinian Jihad Islami cell as part of a campaign of revenge for the IDF’s destruction of its terror tunnel on Oct. 30, in which 12 of its operatives died.
A few hours earlier, the organization launched a mortar barrage from the Gaza Strip against IDF positions guarding its northern border without causing casualties. The IDF responded with tank and aerial fire on Jihad and Hamas positions. Israel is on a high state of preparedness for more attacks in the coming days. Armed escorts are guarding school buses in the towns with range of the Gaza Strip.
This was the first terrorist attack ever experienced by the small town of Arad, 45km southeast of Beersheba. Corporal Kukiya, a member of the Nahal combat brigade, was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant.