Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem on Sunday night after hundreds marched in Shuafat Refugee Camp to honor Hamas terrorist Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, who killed an Israeli and wounded four others in Jerusalem’s Old City earlier in the day.
In videos circulating on social media, dozens of Palestinians can be seen hurling rocks as tear gas — apparently fired by police — fills the air around them. Israeli police had raided the neighborhood following the Sunday terror attack, reportedly arresting three relatives of Abu Shkhaydam’s family.
Paramedics also reported two Molotov cocktail attacks in the Jerusalem area, although it was not immediately clear who the perpetrators were.
One explosive bottle was hurled at a 30-year-old man near the Old City, who suffered light burns, according to Magen David Adom emergency responders.
The second Molotov cocktail was hurled at a bus near the Hizma checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank. The bus driver, 25, was treated for shock; no passengers were hurt, MDA medics said.
The widening unrest was sparked by the bloody terror attack in the Old City. On Sunday morning, Abu Shkhaydam drew a submachine near the Chain Gate, which leads to the holy Temple Mount site, and opened fire on passersby.
Israeli police officers returned fire and killed Abu Shkhaydam on the scene, but not before he fatally wounded South African immigrant Eliyahu David Kay and seriously wounded another Israeli yeshiva student. Three other Israelis were treated for moderate to light wounds.
On Sunday night, hundreds of Palestinians marched towards Abu Shkhaydam’s house. Many could be seen waving the green flags emblazoned with the Islamic credo of faith, that are often associated with Hamas.
“Millions of martyrs will march to Jerusalem,” the protesters chanted, according to videos circulating on social media.
In other videos, the Palestinian marchers pledged allegiance to shadowy Hamas terror chief Mohammad Deif.
“Put sword next to sword,” Shuafat camp residents chanted, a reference to Hamas’ logo, which features crossed blades. “We’re Mohammad Deif’s men.”
An umbrella coalition of Palestinian “Islamic and Nationalist Factions” in Shuafat declared a general strike in shops and schools in memory of Abu Shkhaydam.
Separately, dozens of right-wing Israeli nationalists marched through the Old City to the scene of the attack. They were joined by Simcha Rothman and Orit Struck, parliamentarians from the hard-right Religious Zionism party, who lit candles in memory of the late Kay.
In some videos, Jewish demonstrators chanted anti-Arab slogans, such as, “May their village burn!”
Kay had served in the Israel Defense Forces as a lone soldier (one of the soldiers from foreign countries who move to Israel without family) in the Paratroopers Brigade, until August 2019.
“He gave everything for this country,” his brother Kasriel told reporters on Sunday evening.
Israeli officials said they believed Abu Shkhaydam had planned his attack well in advance, citing the sophisticated submachine gun he had acquired. His wife and children also left the country three days ago, according to Public Security Minister Omer Barlev.
In Shuafat, Abu Shkhaydam raised five children — three boys and two daughters — and taught Islamic law at a boys high school, for which he received a salary from the Jerusalem municipality. According to Israeli authorities, he was a member of Hamas’ civilian branch, rather than its armed wing.
“He was the best teacher. He never cursed anyone, or called anyone a bad name, except the Jews, may God burn them,” Shuafat resident Mustafa Zaattra, a student of Abu Skhaydam, told al-Qastal.
מאות בני נוער עם חברי הכנסת רוטמן וסטרוק בשירת 'אחינו כל בית ישראל' בזירת הרצח של אליהו קיי הי"ד בעיר העתיקה בירושלים. pic.twitter.com/GfeHM3Ri4T
— אהרון נוראני (@Aaron_Norani) November 21, 2021
Abu Shkhaydam also preached in local mosques. In a 2020 sermon circulated on social media, he assailed “the Jewish and Christian masters of heresy” as being “led by the devil.” Seething at the United Arab Emirates’ decision to normalize ties with Israel, he called the Emiratis, “filthy Bedouins.”
“They are joined by those with ulterior motives…all these unite for one thing only — to fight against God,” Abu Shkhaydam said at the time.
In a statement, Hamas praised Abu Shkhaydam for having spent his life “in proselytizing and in struggle.”
“This heroic operation carries a warning to the criminal enemy and its government to stop its aggression against our land and our holy sites,” the terror group said.
The attack was the second in recent days in Jerusalem’s Old City. East Jerusalem teenager Amr Abu Asab, 16, sought to stab police officers before being shot by a local civilian on Thursday night. Hamas also later claimed Asab as a member.
Asab’s death has sparked repeated nightly clashes between police and Palestinians in Issawiya, where he lived. On Saturday night, Palestinian residents managed to set a police water cannon on fire as it was deployed in the neighborhood.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday morning that authorities were concerned about attacks inspired by the two successive acts of terrorism.
“This is the second terrorist attack in Jerusalem in recent days. I have instructed the security forces to mobilize accordingly and demonstrate vigilance, also due to concern over copycat attacks,” the premier said in a statement.