JERUSALEM -- A Palestinian brandishing a sword and a kitchen knife went on a stabbing rampage yesterday, killing two people and wounding 19 before he was shot to death.
Witnesses to the attack in Jaffa, a mixed Jewish-Arab district in Tel Aviv, said a tall, bearded man, masked with an Arab headscarf and carrying a long dagger, stabbed and slashed passers-by on a bustling street.
The Palestinian stabbed to death a 19-year-old woman, Ilanit Ohana, and Abdel Ghani Karim, 41, an Israeli Arab garage owner, who witnesses said had rushed out swinging a crowbar to fight him off.
The man then crossed the street and attacked a group of high school students, 15 of whom reportedly were hospitalized with cuts.
The students, who wore holiday costumes including Arab dress, had been on their way to a club for a party marking the Jewish holiday of Purim. They said they initially assumed that the sword-waving attacker and accompanying sounds of gunfire were part of a holiday prank.
A taxi driver fired a gun at the assailant in an unsuccessful attempt to stop him. The Palestinian was finally shot and killed by a police officer.
Palestinians identified the assailant as Raed Rifi, 22, of Gaza, and said he was a member of Islamic Holy War who had been twice detained without trial. The fundamentalist group distributed leaflets accepting responsibility for the stabbings.
In Gaza, Mr. Rifi's family said he had acted to avenge the death of his diabetic father in an Israeli prison three years ago.
The past month has seen a surge of Arab-Jewish violence in Israel and the occupied territories that has left eight Israelis and at least 12 Palestinians dead.