Fatah, the political faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned Israel for killing three Palestinians who killed Israeli police officer Hadas Malka and injured four others in a stabbing and shooting terror attack in Jerusalem on Friday.
In a statement, Fatah called the deaths of the three assailants, who attacked at two locations near Jerusalem’s Old City, a “war crime.”
Hamas said all three of the assailants were members of Palestinian terrorist organizations.
Fatah “condemns the war crime carried out by Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem against three Palestinian teens,” spokesperson Osama al- Kawasme said in a statement. Fatah added that “the international community’s silence emboldened Israel to further spill the blood of Palestinians.”
The three West Bankers, armed with an automatic weapon and knives, carried out near simultaneous attacks at two adjacent locations. Two attacked a group of police officers at Zedekiah’s Cave with an automatic weapon and knives, and a third stabbed Malka a short distance away at Damascus Gate.
The 23-year-old staff sergeant died of her wounds at Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus. Four other people were lightly and moderately injured in the attack — including a policeman and two East Jerusalem Palestinians. Some reports said the gun used by the attackers jammed, preventing further casualties.
The attackers were identified by the Shin Bet internal security agency as Bra’a Saleh Atta and Usama Atta, both born in 1998, and Adel Ankush, born the following year. They were shot dead by security forces as they carried out their attacks.
The three were from Deir Abu-Mashal, a village near Ramallah. All had previously been arrested for or involved in terrorist activity, a Shin Bet statement said. Security forces late Friday night surrounded Deir Abu-Mash’al, and were preparing to raid the assailants’ homes to question their family members regarding the attack.
Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, also condemned the shooting of the three attackers as a “crime by the occupation.”
A spokesman for the movement, Hazem Qassem, said the attack was “proof that the Palestinian people are leading a revolution against the enemy.”
He also said the attack showed that the Palestinian Authority’s policy of security coordination with Israel was wrong, calling it “a national crime.”
Hamas dismissed a claim of responsibility for the attack by Islamic State, 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.
In the wake of 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.
Netanyahu canceled the family visits at the recommendation of Chief of Police Roni Alsheich and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, according to a police statement.
Netanyahu, however, did not revoke the permission given to Palestinian men aged over 40 from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers, police said.
Israel last month announced that it was relaxing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians to and from the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, including easier access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, issuing more travel permits and allowing some to travel abroad. The measures were similar to those of previous years.
Over the past 18 months the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in one case a Jordanian national.
Since September 2015, some 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans, an Eritrean national, a Palestinian man and a British student have been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinian assailants. In that time, more than 270 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.
Israel has blamed the violence and terrorism on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded on social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.
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