Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on Saturday urged the Security Council to denounce the previous night’s coordinated stabbing and shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.
“The payments made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families encourage heinous attacks like we saw today,” Dannon said of the attack, in which Border Police officer Hadas Malka was killed and four others injured.
“The Palestinian leadership continues to pledge their support for peace, while making monthly payments to terrorists and educating their children to hate. The international community must demand that the Palestinians put an end to these intolerable acts of violence,” he added.
“I call on the Security Council to condemn this terror attack immediately.”
Israel has been ramping up pressure on the PA to halt payments to the families of terrorists jailed for attacking or killing Israelis.
Israeli officials say Palestinians have paid out some NIS 4 billion ($1.12 billion) over the past four years to Palestinian prisoners and “martyrs” — those killed during attacks against Israel. Jerusalem insists the policy is a major incentive to would-be assailants to carry out attacks.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week claimed the PA intended to end the practice. However following PA denials, Tillerson appeared to walk back his statement, saying there was an “active discussion” between Washington and Ramallah on the matter.
On Friday, three Palestinians armed with an automatic weapon and knives carried out near simultaneous attacks at two adjacent locations before they were shot and killed.
First, two assailants charged Border Police troops with a homemade submachine gun and knives at Zedekiah’s Cave in the Muslim Quarter. They were shot and killed by officers.
Staff Sergeant Malka, 23, was part of a group of officers responding to the sounds of gunfire near their area of patrol close to Damascus Gate. While on their way, Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Malka was assaulted by a third attacker armed with a knife. Samri said Malka wrestled with the man for several seconds and tried to draw her weapon as he stabbed her multiple times before other officers saw what was happening and opened fire, killing him. Malka was critically injured and later died of her wounds in hospital.
At least four more people were injured in the attacks, including another policeman. They all sustained light to moderate wounds and were being treated in hospital.
The Shin Bet security service named the three assailants as Adel Ankush, 18, Bra’a Saleh Atta, 19, and Usama Ahmed Atta, 19.
All three were from Deir Abu-Mashal, a village near Ramallah, and had been arrested for or involved in “popular terror activity,” a Shin Bet statement said. Security forces late Friday night surrounded Deir Abu-Mashal and raided the assailants’ homes to question their family members regarding the attack.
In a first, the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Thank God we have managed to carry out an attack in the heart of Jerusalem,” the group said in a statement. It said its “lions” had managed to “exact revenge” on the Israelis. “With God’s help this will not be the last attack,” it said.
Hamas dismissed the statement, and said all three assailants were members of Palestinian terrorist organizations. The attack was carried out by “two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas,” Hamas said early Saturday.
Israeli officials cast doubt on both claims, saying there was no indication of IS involvement, and that the attack did not appear to have been directed by any group.
Hamas praised the attack, saying it was “new proof that the Palestinian people continue their revolution against the occupiers and that the intifada (popular uprising) will continue until complete freedom is achieved.”
Following the attack Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revoked the entry permits given to Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to visit their relatives in Israel.
Israel had eased restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians from the West Bank for Ramadan, including permitting daily family visits during Sundays through Thursdays.
Over the past 18 months the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen numerous “lone wolf” attacks by Palestinians, and in one case a Jordanian national.
Agencies contributed to this report.