Beijing: A diplomat of the Israeli Embassy in Beijing was attacked on Friday and later hospitalised, the country's Foreign Ministry said. China did not immediately acknowledge the assault.
It wasn't immediately clear what sparked the attack, though it comes after Israel had criticised China for its statement that followed Hamas' unprecedented and deadly incursion into southern Israel last Saturday that sparked the ongoing war between the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Israel.
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement to journalists, saying the attack did not happen on the embassy's grounds.
The identity of the employee was not made public and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
"The employee was transferred to hospital and he is in a stable condition," the statement said, without giving additional details. It added that Israeli officials were still trying to assess the "background" of what happened in the assault.
The shocking visuals of the attack surfaced on social media sites.
(TW: Video contains could be disturbing for some people)
Israel Expresses Deep Disappointment Over Attack
Just before making the announcement, Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Ambassador Rafi Harpaz had spoken with the Chinese envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, to express his country's "deep disappointment" over China's comments that followed the Hamas incursion.
There was "no clear and unequivocal condemnation of the terrible massacre committed by the terrorist organisation Hamas against innocent civilians and the abduction of dozens of them to Gaza," the statement said.
"The Chinese announcements do not contain any element of Israel's right to defend itself and its citizens, a fundamental right of any sovereign country that was attacked in an unprecedented manner and with cruelty that has no place in human society." In Beijing, about half-a-dozen plainclothes police were stationed outside the Israeli Embassy in addition to the normal contingent of uniformed officers. A call to the embassy went unanswered on Friday.
While the United States remains Israel's top ally, China in recent months had tried to reach out to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox government as tensions had risen with Washington over Netanyahu's planned overhaul of the country's judiciary, which sparked months of protests.
Since the attack, however, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have travelled to Israel, while President Joe Biden also has spoken out about the Hamas attack.
America also has sent additional arms to Israel, deployed one aircraft carrier group and plans to send another to discourage a regional escalation as Israel prepares for a possible ground war in Gaza.