A 19-year-old IDF soldier was stabbed to death at a southern Israeli bus station in what police called a terror attack.
Officials said on Thursday evening that they were searching for two assailants who fled the scene and had established “heightened security measures” in the immediate area in the city of Arad, around 25 kilometres west of the Dead Sea.
The victim was identified as Tel Aviv native Ron Yitzhak Kokia, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant, the Times of Israel reported.
When paramedics arrived they found him in a critical condition, unconscious and without a pulse, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
CPR was performed as he was rushed to hospital but Sgt Kokia was reportedly pronounced dead before he reached an air ambulance.
The attack happened just hours after the Israeli military shelled the Gaza Strip in response to mortar fire at troops on the border.
Authorities in Gaza said three Palestinians were wounded in the air strikes.
At approximately 9.30pm on Thursday, medics received reports of a young man who had been seriously wounded at a bus stop near Arad’s shopping mall.
An Arad police statement read: “Following an initial investigation by police forces at the scene it appears that the motivation for the stabbing… was nationalistic.”
Israel media reported the victim had been waiting for a lift in the moments before the attack.
His funeral will be held on Sunday afternoon in Tel Aviv.