A young Israeli soldier was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist in the desert town of Arad late Thursday night.
Ron Yitzhak Kukia, 19, was laid to rest over the weekend following the shocking and unexpected attack.
Despite being located not far from Palestinian Authority-controlled territories, Arad had thus far not suffered any terrorist violence.
An initial investigation revealed that Kukia was near a local mall at 9:26 pm Thursday night when an Arab man appeared before him and started stabbing the soldier in the upper body.
The terrorist stole Kukia's gun and quickly fled the scene. A massive manhunt for the perpetrator continues.
A passerby noticed Kukia and called emergency services, but the soldier was declared dead at the scene.
Arad Mayor Nisan Ben-Hemo said following the heinous crime:
"Unfortunately, Arad has now joined the cities affected by terror. We never had a nationalistic terror attack before. This ruins our pastoral quiet and the security which Arad's residents enjoyed. For years, it did not matter if there was a war or there was tension - Arad was considered to be a safe place in every way. Today, unfortunately, reality slapped us in the face."
PHOTO: Illustration. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)