Violent October: 620 Terror Attacks in Israel in Just One Month Left 11 Dead, Including Two Americans

By Zachary Leshin | November 23, 2015 | 3:56pm EST
Israeli soldiers in the West Bank tend to a wounded comrade who was stabbed by a Palestinian man wearing a yellow "press" vest on Oct. 16, 2015.  The assailant was shot dead. (AP photo)

( – There were 620 terror attacks in Israel in October, six of which resulted in 11 fatalities, including two Americans, according to the Shabak, Israel’s domestic security service.

Shabak reported a substantially higher number of terror attacks in October than during previous months of 2015. The violence was part of a recent stepped-up terror wave that started in mid-September.

Among the 620 attacks, Israeli officials counted 483 firebombs, 57 IEDs (including pipe bombs and improvised grenades), 42 stabbings, 28 small arms shootings, five rockets, three vehicular attacks, one attack using a gas container, and one anti-tank missile.

Source: Shabak     Zachary Leshin/

In those attacks, 80 more people were injured, 37 of them "moderately or more severely", according to Shabak. The injured included one American, 18 Israeli civilians, and 18 Israeli security personnel.

Rabbi Eitam Henkin, an American citizen, and his wife, Naama, both died on October 1 when terrorists shot into their car near Itamar. Their four young sons, ranging in age from 9 years to 4 months, were sitting in the back seat but were not injured.

Two days later, two people were stabbed to death in Jerusalem's Old City. There were also three fatal stabbings on a bus and a fatal vehicular attack in Jerusalem on Oct. 13. One of the victims was Richard Lakin, an American-Israeli educator who advocated for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Muslims.

Two more people died in a shooting at Beersheba’s Central Bus Station on Oct. 18 and an Israeli man died in a vehicular attack south of Hebron on Oct. 20.

In response to the attacks, the Obama administration appeared to blame the Israelis for the outbreak of violence for violating the status quo of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Jews are prohibited from praying at the Temple Mount due to concerns that such activity might incite Islamic violence because the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine, and the Al Aqsa mosque are located there.

“Is it the administration’s position that the status quo at the Temple Mount has been broken?” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked State Department spokesman John Kirby on Oct. 16.

Kirby responded: “Well, certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.”

But Kirby’s comment was sharply criticized by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who described it as the “moral equivalence … between the savagery of the Palestinian terrorists and the innocent Israelis they are trying to murder.”

“It is utterly unacceptable that a senior official in the U.S. government would make such an unfounded slur against Israel, which has been our invaluable ally in the fight against terrorism. We must immediately and unconditionally reject the delusion that the coordinated Palestinian frenzy of bloodlust is in any way legitimate,” Cruz said, calling for Kirby’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s resignation if they didn’t issue a retraction.

Kirby subsequently retracted his statement in a Twitter post: “Clarification from today's briefing: I did not intend to suggest that status quo at Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif has been broken.”

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called on “both sides [to] take affirmative steps, affirmative actions that reduce tensions in the region.”

His response echoed similar responses made by the Obama administration to previous terror attacks on Israel. In Nov. 2014, after a series of stabbings throughout Israel, then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki urged “all sides to exercise restraint.”

The month before, after a three-month-old American-Israeli dual citizen was murdered during a vehicular attack, then-State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf issued a similar statement, urging “all sides to exercise restraint and maintain calm.”

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