Two mosques were targeted with a stun grenade and gunshots early Monday in the northern town of Maghar, the home of a policeman killed in a Jerusalem terror attack last week.
It was the second time mosques were attacked in the mixed Druze-Muslim town since the deadly shooting and stabbing at an entrance to the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem that claimed the lives of police officers Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, 30 and Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, 22, on Friday.
Sitawe was from Maghar and was buried there later in the day. The second victim of the attack, Shnaan, was laid to rest in the Druze village of Hurfeish, also in northern Israel.
It’s not known if the mosque attacks were linked. Police say they are investigating all avenues of inquiry.
Sometime after midnight Monday morning a stun grenade was thrown at the northern mosque in Maghar, police said in a statement. There were no injuries or damage caused.
Later, at around 3:30 a.m. shots were fired at the eastern mosque of the town. Again, there were no injuries but one of the windows was damaged.
A police spokesperson told The Times of Israel that it was not known if the incidents were hate crimes and that “all options are being checked.”
Israel Police deployed in the area were on the scene of the attacks within minutes, where they gathered evidence and opened an investigation, the statement said.
Police said additional forces were sent to Maghar and deployed openly and undercover “in order to maintain a feeling of security and to prevent a commotion” over the attacks.
On Friday unidentified assailants threw a stun grenade at a mosque in the town hours after the Jerusalem attack.
Maghar is a town with a mixed population of Druze, Muslims and Christians. Police suspected that a Facebook post by a female Muslim resident praising the “martyrs” who carried out the terror attack may have led to the incidents.
The attack in which Sitawe and Shnaan were killed began just after 7 a.m. Friday morning when three Arab-Israeli terrorists opened fire at the officers in an alleyway outside the Temple Mount complex. The two were critically injured in the attack, later succumbing to their wounds.
The terrorists, all from the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, fled back to the Temple Mount compound and were shot dead by other police officers on the scene, a police spokesperson said.
The past two years have seen an ongoing wave of Palestinian violence in the West Bank and Israel, though it has waned in recent months.
Since September 2015, mainly Palestinian assailants have killed 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans, a Palestinian man and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 280 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.
The Israeli government blames the terrorism and violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded by social media accounts that glorify violence and encourage attacks.