UN Middle East peace process coordinator Nickolay Mladenov on Saturday said that “terrorist acts” like the stabbing and shooting attacks near Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday the previous day “must be clearly condemned by all.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” he said in a statement.
“I am appalled that once again some find it appropriate to justify such attacks as ‘heroic.’ They are unacceptable and seek to drag everyone into a new cycle of violence.”
Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office, blamed Palestinian incitement for the attack, and slammed Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement for behaving as though the three attackers were innocent youths. Fatah late Friday accused Israel of a “war crime” for killing the Palestinian assailants.
In an Arabic-language post to the COGAT Facebook page, Mordechai said: “The three thugs who carried out their cowardly terrorist act and killed the policewoman in Jerusalem received condolences from the Fatah organization, that claimed them to be innocents… as if they were executed for no reason… This is pure incitement to terrorism!”
He added that 250,000 entry permits given to Palestinians during the Muslim holy month to visit their relatives in Israel had been revoked due to the attack.
“He who sows thorns shall not reap grapes,” he said. “You have ruined the atmosphere of Ramadan for the residents of Judea and Samaria.”
Earlier Saturday Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged the Security Council to denounce the attack.
“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.
“I call on the Security Council to condemn this terror attack immediately.”
Israeli security forces deployed in the West Bank village of Deir Abu-Mashal, near Ramallah, home of the three terrorists who carried out the attack. Officials told the Ynet news website that army troops temporarily sealed off the village, then raided the men’s homes, where they searched for weaponry, confiscated various documents and questioned family members over the attack. Soldiers also mapped the homes of the three men in preparation for the likely demolition, a common Israeli response to attacks.
One person was arrested on suspicion of involvement with the attack.
The army said a riot broke out as forces conducted their operations, with around 200 Palestinians hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers and burning tires as they attempted to block entrances to the village. The IDF said soldiers responded with mainly non-lethal weapons, and in several specific cases used live fire at the lower bodies of key instigators. No soldiers were injured during the violent demonstrations.
A Facebook page run by members of the village posted a photo of the three assailants on Friday night, praising them: “Glory and immortality to our righteous martyrs.” It also carried various messages of support which page administrators claimed came from nearby villages.
Hamas denied an Islamic State claim Saturday that it was behind the deadly attack against Israel, saying it was their people who killed a female police officer on duty near Jerusalem’s Old City.
IS issued a statement taking responsibility for the stabbing and shooting attacks. If true, it would mark the first direct IS action against Israel and the group warned on its affiliate news agency it “will not be the last.
“Let the Jews expect the demise of their entity at the hands of the Caliphate soldiers,” it said, calling the attack “revenge for God’s religion and for the violated sanctities of Muslims.”
However, two terror groups — Hamas and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine — quickly retorted that the three attackers who were killed were their members and accused IS of trying to undermine their battle.
Meanwhile, Israeli military officials said they believed Friday night’s attacks were carried out by local individuals without a formal link to any group.
The three men were armed with an automatic weapon and knives and carried out near simultaneous attacks at two locations. Police Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, was stabbed to death.
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.
Malka’s funeral will be held Saturday night in Ashdod, her family said.
The Shin Bet security service named the three assailants as Adel Ankush, 18, Bra’a Saleh Atta, 19, and Usama Ahmed Atta, 19.
Israel had eased restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians from the West Bank for Ramadan, including permitting daily family visits during Sundays through Thursdays.