Israel has frozen the entry permits of hundreds of Palestinians from the Hebron region to travel into Israel, following Thursday’s stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, which was carried out by a permit holder from the area.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that the permits of 1,200 people would be reviewed in the coming days and that a decision regarding whether to renew them would be made according to security considerations.
Just four days ago Raid Halil bin Mahmoud, who stabbed to death two Israeli men in Tel Aviv on Thursday, was issued a work permit enabling him to find employment in Israel. The document was issued after a background check by security services found that he had no record of previous activity constituting a security concern.
He worked in a meat restaurant close to the Panorama office building in south Tel Aviv, where he carried out his attack.
According to Channel 2, it was the first time in recent years that a Palestinian with a work permit to be in Israel has carried out a terror attack.
Mahmoud’s mother said she was proud of his actions. “My son is a source of pride for Hebron and Palestine,” the woman told Hamas television.
Mahmoud, 36, a father of five from the West Bank town of Dura near Hebron, also moderately injured a third man. After his arrest, he said he’d been driven to carry out the attack by the pain he felt for the situation of the Palestinians, police reported.
Police on Friday morning announced they had arrested nine suspects after the Tel Aviv attack — three business owners who were employing Palestinians in Israel illegally, and six Palestinians without the required permits.
A spate of attacks by Palestinians over the past two months has seen almost daily stabbing and shootings against Israeli civilians and security forces, both in the West Bank and within Israeli territory. Much of the unrest, including frequent rioting, has focused in and around Hebron.