JERUSALEM — Two assailants stabbed an Israeli truck driver in the back Thursday in the occupied Gaza Strip and Jewish settlers torched Arab houses in the occupied West Bank in retaliation for a series of attacks on Jews, authorities said.
In a wave of escalating violence in the territories Israel has occupied since 1967, Moshe Fitousi, 25, was stabbed after he stopped his truck at a gasoline station in Gaza's Palestine Square, military officials said. Fitousi, of Beersheba, was taken to a hospital by helicopter.
Israel radio said the army immediately closed off the area and searched for suspects, but no arrests were reported.
In the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Jewish settlers daubed slogans such as "You Are Fair Game" and "Jews Will Live Here" on Arab houses and torched others in retaliation for attacks on Israelis.
The houses belong to Palestinians freed in May by Israel as part of an unpopular swap of 1,150 Arab and other prisoners for three Israeli POWs.
Settler leader Otniel Shneller said the attacks were staged "to encourage those terrorists to leave the land of Israel and go where they belong, not here in our home. Enough Jews have been murdered."
Recent attacks on Israelis include the stabbing Tuesday of two Israeli soldiers, one fatal, at Hebron's market.
Last month, a Jewish settler at Hebron was stabbed and wounded, and a rabbi was stabbed near Jerusalem's Old City one week ago, prompting Israeli officials to warn Jordan it would attack Palestinian guerrilla centers in Amman if members were not expelled from that country.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization denied involvement in Tuesday's stabbings, saying the attacks were simply reactions to Israeli "repressive measures" against its people.
Israel has responded to the escalating violence by detaining 62 West Bank Palestinians without trial in the last two weeks.
The Jewish settlers want to expand the Jewish presence at Tel Rumeida and link it with Jewish neighborhoods they want built in Hebron, home of 60,000 Arabs. They also want 600 recently freed Arab prisoners deported on grounds they are behind the attacks on Jews.