Man stabs
Illustrative image. Image Credit: Creative Commons

Beijing: An Israeli embassy worker in China’s capital was attacked with a knife by another foreign national and hospitalised on Friday, with the suspect later arrested, officials said.

Video geolocated by AFP shows the man was stabbed with a knife on a street in the Chinese capital.

“An Israeli employee of the Israeli embassy in Beijing was attacked today,” Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that the attack did not take place at the embassy compound.

“The employee is being treated at hospital and is in stable condition,” the statement said.

“The motive for the assault is being looked into.”

In a statement, police in Beijing’s Chaoyang District said “a 50-year-old male relative of an Israeli diplomat was stabbed by another foreign national outside the entrance to a supermarket... at around 2 pm”.

A preliminary investigation had shown the foreign national to be “a 53-year-old male involved in small goods trading in Beijing”, the statement said.

“The criminal suspect has been arrested,” it said, adding that “the case is currently under further investigation”.

US ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said he was “shocked” by the attack, offering his “full support” to the Israeli embassy and community in China.

“We are shocked by today’s attack on an Israeli diplomat in Beijing,” Burns said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, adding he had spoken with Israel’s ambassador to China Irit Ben-Abba.

Protests ‘liable to turn violent’

A video posted on social media and geolocated by AFP to an area around a kilometre and a half from the embassy shows a man brandishing a knife repeatedly stabbing another man, with blood visible on the pavement.

The man with the blade can later be seen leaving the site, weapon in hand.

In another video of the same location, security staff are seen questioning people and making phone calls.

A man then rushes in on a bike to where the blood-soaked and conscious victim is sitting, shouting “ambulance!” to onlookers.

The victim is seen being carried away by several others, likely for medical treatment, to a vehicle out of frame.

An AFP journalist at the scene where the stabbing occurred said there were eight plainclothes police officers present.

The stabbing comes after Hamas gunmen killed more than 1,300 people in Israel, mostly civilians, and took about 150 hostages in their surprise attack on Saturday.

Israel has retaliated by raining air and artillery strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip for six days, killing over 1,530 people.

A statement on the Israeli foreign ministry website warned that Hamas had called on “all of its supporters around the world to hold a ‘Day of Rage’” on Friday to “attack Israelis and Jews”.

“It is reasonable to assume that there will be protest events in various countries that are liable to turn violent,” the statement said.

The Israeli embassy, located in a diplomatic neighbourhood of northeast Beijing, appeared to be operating normally on Friday afternoon, an AFP journalist saw.

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond for comment.