TEL AVIV: A Palestinian went on a stabbing spree along the Tel Aviv waterfront Tuesday leaving an American tourist dead and 12 people wounded, police said, as US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in the city.
The attacker, around 21 years old, was from the town of Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank and was shot dead by police, Israeli authorities said.
Video showed a man running down a road and lunging at someone through a car window while being chased.
The attack caused panic, and one witness told Israeli television he hit the assailant with his guitar, with a hole visible in the wood of his instrument.
Police said the attacker wounded a number of people in the Jaffa port area, a tourist zone of Israel’s commercial capital, before going on toward a restaurant and stabbing others.
Around a 15-minute walk from where the stabbings occurred, Biden met former Israeli president Shimon Peres.
Biden “condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal attack which occurred in Jaffa during his meeting with president Peres, and commented that there is no justification for such acts of terror,” his office said.
“He expressed his sorrow at the tragic loss of American life and offered his condolences to the family of the American citizen murdered in the attack, as well as his wishes for a full and quick recovery for the wounded.”
The US State Department identified the dead American as Taylor Allen Force, a 29-year-old native of Texas and a US army veteran, and denounced the attack.
Wave of violence
Violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories since October has killed 184 Palestinians and 28 Israelis.
Most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
Others were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes or demonstrations.
Biden is due to meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday.
When meeting Peres on Tuesday, he spoke of an “unvarnished, complete commitment to the security of Israel. And I hope we will make some progress.”
The White House has said Biden will not be pursuing any major new peace initiatives during his visit despite the wave of violence.