Five people were murdered in another terror that struck Israel last night (Tuesday), the third in one week. This brings the number of victims over the past seven days alone to 11, following an attack in Be’er Sheva on May 22nd, which cost the lives of four citizens, and another one in Hadera on Sunday, in which 19-year-old border police officers were murdered.
Initial reports of a shooting in Bnei Brak, a city adjacent to Tel Aviv, broke around 8pm local time. The terrorist rode a motorcycle along a major street, firing shots from an F-16 at cars and shops, until he was finally stopped and fatally shot by the police.
Among the victims are Amir Houri, a 32-year-old policeman who served in the Bnei Brak station, and was killed while neutralizing the terrorist. Father of five Yaakov Shalom, and 29-year-old Rabbi Avishai Yehezkel were also murdered. The identities of the other two victims have not yet been cleared for publication.
The terrorist was identified as a Palestinian from a village near Jenin, in the West Bank. Major IDF forces have been operating in the area since the early hours of the morning. In the city of Jenin and other Palestinian cities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, there have been sights of public elation and candy has been handed to passers-by in celebration of another “success”. Hamas and Hezbollah also praised the attack.
“What we witnessed less than a year ago in Operation Guardians of the Walls, the terrorism and the violence, from within Israel and inside Israel, was the first sign,” said Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, in a recorded statement following the deadly attack.”
“This is a great and complex challenge for the IDF, the ISA and the Israel Police that requires the security establishment to be creative and for us to adapt ourselves to the new threat and read the tell-tale signs of lone individuals, sometimes without organizational affiliation, and to be in control on the ground in order to thwart terrorism even before it happens.
“We face a challenging period. We have experience in dealing with terrorism, from the very beginning of Zionism. They did not break us then and they will not break us now. The secret of our existence is the mutual responsibility among us and our determination to maintain the home that we have built – at any price.”
Bennett, who contracted the Coronavirus and is currently self-isolating, filmed himself at his office using a tripod, with no cameraperson present.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres and French President Emanuel Macron were among those publicly condemned the attack, as did the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. This is a rare condemnation on Abbas’ part, the first since 2014.
At the same time, these past few days have seen a diplomatic blitz between Israel and Jordan. Israeli President Isaac Herzog is scheduled to meet King Abdullah in his palace in Amman today, following the visit of Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Ganz, earlier this week. The King himself made a rare visit to Ramallah yesterday, where he met with Abbas. The leaders discussed ways in which to prevent security escalation during the upcoming days of Ramadan, Passover and Easter.