Israeli soldier killed in mall stabbing attack

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli soldier was killed and a second person was wounded in a stabbing in an Israeli mall on Wednesday that police said was a suspected terror attack.

Israel's Ynet news site named the accused assailant, who was killed in the attack, as Joud Rabia from Nahaf, a town where members of Israel's Arab minority live.

There was no claim of responsibility from any group, though militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a post on the Telegram site described the attack as a "heroic operation."

Closed circuit television images from inside the mall, in Karmiel in northern Israel, showed two men in Israeli military uniform, with their guns slung at their sides, walking casually through the mall.

In the CCTV images, broadcast by Israel's Channel 12 TV station, a man in a blue T-shirt could be seen rushing up from behind the two men, stabbing one of them in the neck area, and then stabbing the second person.

As the attacker ran off, the person who was stabbed first aimed his automatic weapon at the fleeing man, the images showed, then held his hand to a wound on his neck.

The Israeli defence ministry, in a statement, identified the stabbing fatality as Aleksandr Iakiminskyi, a 19-year-old sergeant in the Israeli military. He was pronounced dead in hospital, medics said. They said the other victim was being treated for his wounds.

Israel is conducting a military offensive in Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, already on the rise before the war in Gaza, has escalated further, with stepped-up Israeli military raids, settler violence and Palestinian street attacks.

In January, a Palestinian vehicle ramming attack in central Israel killed one woman and injured 12 others.

(Reporting by Emily Rose and Christian Lowe; editing by)