An 18-year-old Israeli soldier was stabbed to death on a bus in northern Israel by a Palestinian teenager.
Police are calling the Wednesday morning incident in Afula a terrorist attack.
The soldier was stabbed several times in the neck on a bus traveling from Nazareth to Tel Aviv. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he reportedly died during surgery.
He was identified as Pvt. Eden Atias of Nazareth-Illit who was returning to his base and reportedly was asleep at the time of the attack.
Police said the assailant, a 16-year-old male from Jenin, did not have a permit to work or reside in Israel, the Times of Israel reported.
Haaretz reported that the stabber’s brothers are known to Israeli security officials and have been connected to terrorist activity. The attacker’s uncles are in prison in Israel, Army Radio reported.
The attack comes a day before the one-year anniversary of Pillar of Defense, an Israeli operation in Gaza launched to stop rocket strikes on southern Israel.
Last month, a Palestinian on a bus near Jerusalem threatened riders with a knife before cutting off a sidelock of a passenger and fleeing.
Meanwhile, five Palestinians were treated for smoke inhalation after their home was set ablaze in a “price tag” attack believed to be in revenge for the soldier’s murder.
“Regards from Eden, Revenge” was spray-painted on the house, which is located in a Palestinian village northeast of Ramallah. Its five residents were treated at a nearby hospital.
Thousands attended his funeral on Wednesday evening.
The Palestinian homeowner told the daily Haaretz that four “settlers” approached the house, poured flammable liquid near the door and set it alight.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident appeared to be in response to Atias’ murder, according to Reuters.
On Thursday, two Palestinians arrested last month on suspicion of murdering an Israeli army colonel admitted to the killing, calling it a “gift to the Palestinian people.”
The suspects, aged 18 and 21, told Israel’s Shin Bet security agency that they had originally planned to rob Saraya Ofer, but decided to murder him when they realized he was a senior Israel Defense Forces official, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Saraya Ofer was the nephew of brothers and leading Israeli businessmen Yuli and Sammy Ofer