Israel: At least 17 injured and one dead in an attack in the city of Ra'anana

In the city, located in the center of the country, a vehicle rammed into a pedestrian area. Two men were arrested, both of Palestinian origin.

A knife and vehicle attack took place this Monday in the Israeli city of Ra'anana, located in the center of the country just north of the urban perimeter of Tel Aviv.

According to the report from Israeli authorities, a man, armed with a knife, assaulted a woman in Ra'anana and took control of her vehicle. Once at the helm of the car, the attacker proceeded to ram into several pedestrian areas of the city.

Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency service, reported that there are at least 17 injured, some of them critically. Among the injured there were four children. Authorities are still working to clarify the situation and to keep community members safe. Shortly after the attack, local authorities called on the civilian population to remain calm, seek shelter and not leave their homes. Activity in schools was also halted.

There were at least two people arrested. The main suspect is a Palestinian man from Hebron in the West Bank. The Israeli Police also have detained a relative of his, suspected of collaborating in the attack. In a press conference, Central District Police Commander Avi Bitton explained that both detainees were working illegally in Israel.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the attacker changed vehicles at least three times after crashing them into areas where civilians were present. According to witnesses who spoke with Voz Media, the attack began on Ahuza Street in Ra'anana, the main artery of the city. It is a large two-way street with wide pedestrian sidewalks. It was there where the detainee attacked the first victim with a knife and fled with the vehicle.

Shock in Ra'anana

"If I moved to Ra'anana it is because of its tranquility. Nobody expected this here," Julio Goldstein assured Voz Media. The words of this Argentine-Israeli sum up what many of the community's inhabitants are feeling after the attack.

The city of nearly 70,000 inhabitants, just north of Tel-Aviv, had never before experienced an episode like this. In addition to the industrial complexes it houses, its urban development is essentially residential. Goldstein, a 54-year-old Argentine economist, arrived in Israel just eight months ago to join the rest of his family.

Goldstein was walking along Ahuza Street this Monday when he witnessed the beginning of the attack. For him there was no doubt from the first moment: "It was an attack, without a doubt," he said in a telephone conversation while returning to his home to get to safety. Goldstein was able to witness the scene in person: a man of average height who lunged at a woman with a knife and attacked her to take her vehicle. "It was barely two blocks from me," explained Goldstein.

"We would never have thought that this could happen here in Ra'anana," added the economist. "This area is very quiet. We chose it because there are no attacks here," he continued.

Local authorities are sending Goldstein's phone updates about the situation in the town. They have asked for increased caution and to avoid leaving his home. At around 3 p.m. local time, helicopters continued to sweep the area.