Ultra-Orthodox Man Assaulted with Ax on Way to Pray

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- An ax-wielding Arab youth attacked an ultra-Orthodox man near the Damascus Gate Monday morning while the man was on way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.

Police immediately began combing the area for the assailant, who dropped the ax and fled. Magen David Adom paramedics transported the injured man to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

One eyewitness called it "a miracle" that he wasn't wounded more seriously."

"It was a miracle that he was only lightly wounded, in light of the circumstances," Avi Bar-Lev, a volunteer with the Ichud Hatzala rescue group, told the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz.

A bus driver who was in the area at the time said "if the blade had hit his head directly, the man would no longer be with us."

"He was lucky. It was a serious ax," he told Ha'aretz.

About two weeks ago, an Arab youth assaulted a female soldier on Jerusalem's light rail, stabbing her repeatedly in the chest and arm before running out the door as the train stopped.

Police apprehended him shortly afterward at the Kalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. 

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