French ambassador mugged in 'Palestinian' territory

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot was mugged at the weekend while hiking alone in an area near Jericho that is under Palestinian Authority control.

Bigot later reported the incident to the Tel Aviv Police station, stating that two masked men had demanded his wallet and cellphone. Bigot said the men did not appear to have weapons, but he felt sufficiently threatened to comply with their demands.

Bigot told Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper that the assailants were apparently unaware that he is the French ambassador. "They just thought I was a regular tourist. Next time, I won't hike in that area by myself," said Bigot.

While Bigot was careful not to publicly identify his muggers as Palestinian Arabs, the area where he was hiking - Nabi Musa, the traditional Muslim burial place of Moses - is under full Palestinian Authority control, and therefore off-limits to Israeli Jews.

In other violence, a Palestinian Arab man stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli taxi driver near Tel Aviv late Monday night. The assailant hailed the taxi in Tel Aviv and asked to taken to the nearby town of Kfar Saba. After reaching his destination, the passenger pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed the unsuspecting driver.

The victim is listed in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

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