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Knife stabbing attacks in the West Bank: implementing a modern response chain to an ancient foe
  1. Adi Leiba1,2,3,
  2. Orel Ben Ishay1,
  3. Haim Ossadon1,
  4. Hagay Frenkel1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Israeli Defense Forces Medical Corps, Jerusalem, Israel
  2. 2Tel Aviv University, Sackler School of Medicine, Teal Aviv, Israel
  3. 3Department of Medical Education, Mount Auburn Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adi Leiba, Department of Medicine, IDF Medical Corps, 48 Mendess Street, Ramat Gan 52653, Israel; aleiba{at}mah.harvard.edu

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The knife, whether in its original form or as a spear, rapier, dagger, sword, sabre or bayonet has long served as an instrument of traumatic assault.1

While medical corps personnel in the West Bank are trained in the care of trauma injuries from stones, rocks, Molotov cocktail and other injuries related to violent protests, they were faced with very few cases of violent knife stabbing in the last decade.

In the last few months, we have been facing a renewed though ancient foe, with daily stabbings, which caused more harm than knife wounds of criminal or social origin.2

Kiryat Arba is a small Jewish settlement near Hebron, a large Palestinian city. Both Muslims and Jews pray at the nearby ‘Cave of Macpela’, which both believe to be the burial place of biblical Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sara, Rebecca and Leah. As the political destiny of the ‘West Bank’ is still unsettled, not being part of either a Palestinian or a Jewish state, relations between Palestinians and Jews are tense, sometimes hostile, and Israeli soldiers are stationed at potential sites of friction.

On 8 October (Thursday) in the afternoon, a Palestinian stabbed a 31 year-old man, a Jewish civilian living in Kiryat Arba. The Palestinian stabbed the settler in his back and abdomen and fled into the city of Hebron (figure 1). The patient had a shallow cut in his back, but with no respiratory compromise, and a …

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