March 8, 2016
Killed in Tel Aviv, Israel. Stabbed to death.
May 2009 – August 2014 (5 years 4 months)
Served as a Fire Support Officer, Personal Security Detachment Platoon Leader, Fire Direction Officer, Howitzer Platoon Leader, Battery Executive Officer, Battalion Fire Support Officer, and Battalion Assistant S-3 in the 4th and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams, 1st Cavalry Division. Deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn (Iraq), and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).
|From The New York Times nytimes.com 03/08/16
American Graduate Student Killed in Stabbing Rampage Near Tel Aviv
By DIAA HADIDMARCH 8, 2016
RAMALLAH, West Bank — A Palestinian on a stabbing rampage on Tuesday along a coastal promenade near Tel Aviv killed an American combat veteran who was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.
The attacks occurred along a popular seaside boulevard in Jaffa, about a mile away from where Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was meeting with a former president of Israel, Shimon Peres.
The stabbing attacks, carried out over 20 minutes, came just after Mr. Biden arrived for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. He is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday.
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The American was identified as Taylor Force, 28, a first-year M.B.A. student at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, the university said in a statement. He was one of 29 students from the graduate school on a trip to Israel to learn about global entrepreneurship, according to a news release from Vanderbilt. The rest of the students, as well as the four faculty and staff members that accompanied them, were safe, it said.
“A Palestinian terrorist murdered an American citizen, Taylor Force, tonight in Jaffa,” Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter. “May his memory be a blessing.”
In a statement on Tuesday night, John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Taylor and all those affected by these senseless attacks.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Force had served as an Army officer from 2009 to 2014, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
“We have just been notified, and we have no details about anything,” said Mr. Force’s father, Stuart, when reached by telephone.
On Tuesday evening, Mr. Biden was at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, a serene seaside district that adjoins Tel Aviv, when a Palestinian man ran down a popular boulevard attacking groups of people, witnesses said.
A video shot by a witness and posted on YouTube by Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, showed a thin man wearing a hoodie running down the Jaffa promenade, lunging at passengers in passing vehicles. An unseen person could be heard yelling in Hebrew, “Terrorist! Terrorist!”
Luba Samri, a police spokeswoman, said 12 others were injured before the attacker was fatally shot by the police.
The assailant was identified as Bashar Masalha, a 22-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank and a member of the Islamist group Hamas, the group said in a statement posted on Twitter.
The attack was unusual because it occurred in Jaffa, a place where Arabs and Jews often mix along the usually crowded seaside boulevards. Ms. Samri said two Arabs were among the wounded.
Emily Young, an Israeli-American, said she saw “two men running toward me, running and screaming” that there was an attacker on the loose. Ms. Young, 26, a journalist and producer, said she rushed toward a bloodied man on the ground.
“He was badly stabbed on his eyebrow, and I put my jacket on his face and applied pressure,” she said.
The man spoke Russian. Someone rushed up to Ms. Young and said that no one could find the man’s wife.
Ms. Young said she accompanied the man to the hospital. There, she found out that his pregnant wife had also been stabbed. According to Haaretz, Mr. Biden was told of the attack during his meeting with Mr. Peres.
Jamie Southwick, who identified himself as a cousin of Mr. Force, described him in Twitter messages as an accomplished skier who favored the slopes of Deer Valley, Utah. Mr. Southwick said they had traveled in Europe together in 2014.
The stabbings were part of a day of deadly violence. Along with Mr. Force, three Palestinian attackers and a 50-year-old Palestinian woman who tried to lunge at security forces with a knife were killed, the authorities said.
In addition to Tuesday’s victims, a five-month surge in violence has killed nearly 30 Israelis, a Palestinian bystander and an American student, Ezra Schwartz, 18, who was fatally shot in the West Bank in November. About 180 Palestinians have also been killed, most while attempting attacks, or while suspected of attempting attacks. One of the attackers, Mahmoud Shalan, was a Palestinian-American teenage boy from Tampa, Fla.
Eli Rosenberg contributed reporting from New York.
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