The brother of one of the gunmen who killed two police officers in an attack in Hadera is a police officer at a station in the central town of Kfar Saba, multiple Hebrew-language media outlets reported Monday.
Police told the Ynet news site that he was “an excellent officer, who was in shock after the attack.” The officer did not come to work on Monday but is not expected to leave his job, the news site said.
The two Israeli Arab terrorists who committed the attack were named in media reports as Ibrahim and Ayman Ighbariah, cousins from Umm al-Fahm, but it was unclear which one was the brother of the police officer.
Ibrahim Ighbariah was arrested by Turkish police in 2016 as he tried to make his way to Syria in order to join the Islamic State terror group, the Shin Bet security service said at the time. He was charged in Israel with trying to join the jihadist organization and served some 18 months in prison.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on the Telegram channel and in a statement released by the Amaq propaganda site.
“Two members of the Jewish police force were killed and others were injured in an immersive commando attack,” IS said in what the SITE intelligence group said was the first time since 2017 that the terror group has officially claimed an attack in Israel.
Officials believed a video posted on Facebook and later released by the terror group of the two swearing allegiance to Islamic State, shortly before the attack, was authentic.
Members of ISIS published a 40 second video on Facebook claiming allegiance to ISIS and its new emir, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi before launching a terrorist attack in Hadera, #Israel tonight. pic.twitter.com/IQZyXlFWRU
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) March 27, 2022
The shooting came days after a deadly terror attack in the southern city of Beersheba, which was also committed by an Israeli Arab man who attempted to join the jihadist group, raising concerns of further attacks inspired by the terrorist organization.
However, preliminary assessments by security forces have not found an organizational link between the Beersheba and Hadera attacks, according to Hebrew-language media reports.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement on Monday that security forces were addressing the new threat from the jihadist Islamic State group.
“A second attack by Islamic State supporters in Israel requires the security forces to adapt quickly to a new threat, and they have,” he said. “I urge citizens to continue to be vigilant. Together, we will also be able to defeat this enemy.”
“Our heart is broken by the deaths of Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat, who fell while protecting civilians with their bodies from vile murderers. We will not forget their heroism. I wish a complete recovery to the wounded and send my deepest condolences to the families,” Bennett said.
Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat, both 19, were killed Sunday night. Police saying that the two officers saved many lives in the attack. Three other officers were injured.
Security camera footage from the scene showed the two gunmen, bearded and wearing white overalls, opening fire at passersby and police officers at a bus stop in the city, close to several restaurants.
Falah, a resident of the Druze village of Kisra-Sumei in the Galilee, joined the Border Police a year ago and is survived by his parents and a brother and sister, police said.
Aboukrat, a resident of Netanya whose family immigrated from France, joined the force six months ago and is survived by her parents and a brother.
According to the Ynet news site, Aboukrat’s mother told friends that she had moved the family from France because she wanted them to live in safety.
“We fled France to have security and here she died, in our country. It does not make sense. I wanted to give them a good life and security,” she reportedly told friends.
Both of the terrorists were shot dead by members of a unit of undercover officers who were eating at a nearby restaurant, police officials said.
Meanwhile, police said Monday that five residents of Umm al-Fahm were arrested overnight in the wake of the deadly Hadera attack. Three of them are suspected of affiliation with Islamic State, and the other two of being connected the attack. All five were been taken to the Shin Bet security agency for further questioning. During the arrests, police forces seized a firearm and books and items said to be related to the jihadist group.
Officials had been warning of a flare-up of violence before and during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins later this week.
AFP contributed to this report.