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Reinforcements, roadblocks: High alert after two officers killed in Hadera shooting

Additional military and Border Police forces deployed to West Bank and Wadi Ara, as deadly shooting raises concern of further attacks inspired by Islamic State

Prime Minister Bennett holds a situation assessment together with Israel Police Inspector General Kobi Shabtai and other senior members of the security forces at Hadera police station, hours after a deadly terror attack in the city, March 27, 2022. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
Prime Minister Bennett holds a situation assessment together with Israel Police Inspector General Kobi Shabtai and other senior members of the security forces at Hadera police station, hours after a deadly terror attack in the city, March 27, 2022. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

The Israel Police were ordered on high alert across the country Friday following the previous day’s deadly terror attack in Hadera that claimed the lives of Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat, both 19.

That attack came mere days after an attacker killed four people in Beersheba, the worst attack on civilians in years.

The heightened security will see extra forces deployed, as well as roadblocks and checkpoints set up along main roads.

Police chief Kobi Shabtai held a situational assessment Sunday night with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Public Security Minister Omen Barlev and top police and security officials.

Following the meeting, the IDF said it will deploy four extra battalions to Israeli settlements located between the Green Line and security barrier in the West Bank, and will consider deploying additional forces according to the developing situation on the ground.

Extra Border Police units will also be deployed to the area of Wadi Ara, a northern valley populated mainly by Arab Israelis and home to the city of Umm al-Fahm, where the terrorists who carried out the attack were from.

Border Police officers Yazan Falah (R) and Shirel Aboukrat, both 19, who were killed in a terrorist attack in the city of Hadera on March 27, 2022 (Police)

The two terrorists who committed the attack were believed to be supporters of the Islamic State.

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.

Police said several officers were hurt in the attack and during a gun battle with the terrorists shortly thereafter.

Both gunmen were shot dead by members of a unit of undercover officers who were eating at a nearby restaurant, police officials said.

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionism) confronted Barlev during a right-wing protest held at the scene of the attack in Hadera on Sunday evening, which included protesters blocking Route 4 and shouts of slogans such as “Death to Arabs!”

Speaking to reporters at the event, Barlev said the incident was still ongoing and that police were scanning the area in order to make sure no accomplices were involved.

Interrupting his comments, Ben Gvir shouted at the minister: “Stop it! You should be ashamed! You’re the worst minister… They took the most leftist person they could find and made him public security minister!”

Barlev replied: “No, I’m not ashamed. You should be ashamed! You’re nothing!” as the verbal conflict escalated, with security forced to physically separate between the two politicians.

The shooting came days after a deadly terror attack in the southern city of Beersheba, which was also committed by a man who attempted to join the jihadist group, raising concerns of further attacks inspired by the terrorist organization.

Officials had been warning of a flare-up of violence before and during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins later this week.

Current intelligence indicates that while the recent attacks were carried out in Beersheba and Hadera, Jerusalem is still a main point of friction and where future terror attacks are more likely to take place.

Approaching the Muslim holiday of Ramadan in April, police have said they would not be easing security restrictions in the capital, though in the past they have allowed larger gatherings than usual at Damascus Gate in honor of the holy month.

Last spring saw events in Jerusalem surrounding the Temple Mount and looming evictions of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood snowball into an 11-day war between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Fearing a recurrence of last May’s violence between Israelis and the Palestinians, the Biden administration is urging Israel to take preemptive actions in order to prevent a similar eruption this coming April, which will see a confluence of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Christian holiday of Easter.

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