The Palestinian Authority will not recognize Nashat Milhem, the fugitive Arab Israeli gunman killed Friday in a shootout with security forces, as a fatality of the so-called “lone-wolf intifada,” Channel 10 television said Saturday morning, quoting Palestinian media sources.
According to the report, the PA has, however, decided to grant “martyr” status to Muhanad Alukabi, the Bedouin Israeli who killed an IDF soldier in an attack at Beersheba central bus station in October.
Milhem, from the northern town of Arara, was shot dead by security forces after he opened fire on them during an arrest operation in his hometown. He had been on the run for precisely one week, after killing Shimon Ruimi and Alon Bakal at a bar in Tel Aviv and shortly afterwards shooting dead Amin Shaaban, the taxi driver whose cab he had hailed to make his escape.
The Palestinian terror group Hamas on Friday night aired a special news broadcast in praise of Milhem, calling him a “martyr” and warning Israel that his death was not the end of the matter.
A mourning tent for Milhem was also to be set up in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon, Channel 10 reported.
Alukabi, who lived in the Negev town of Hura, was also shot dead by security forces, after he killed Sgt. Omri Levi, 19. The attacker had seized Levi’s rifle and opened fire on the surrounding crowd. Eritrean asylum seeker Haftom Zarhum was killed after being shot and beaten by security officials and passers-by who mistook him for the terrorist.
Palestinian terrorism and violence since the start of October has claimed the lives of 25 Israelis, an American and the Eritrean asylum seeker. On the Palestinian side at least 139 people have been killed, most of them while carrying out attacks. Most of the rest were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly denounced Israel for the high Palestinian death toll in the current wave of violence. Nonetheless, he has in private been urging his security forces to crack down on Palestinian attackers and rioters.
A large portion of the attackers have been young people, including teenagers.
In the early stages of the unrest, PA security forces allowed crowds to approach checkpoints, where they protested and clashed with Israeli security forces.
“Since then, they have increased their presence,” Seif al-Islam Daghlas of the Birzeit student council said last week.
Such intervention could be seen recently when PA security forces in plainclothes violently dispersed protesters moving toward an Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of Ramallah.
AFP contributed to this report
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