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Umm al-Fahm mourns deaths of Hadera terrorists in post; mayor apologizes

Post deleted after call from Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked; mayor, who had condemned attack, blames external company running city’s social media

The two terrorists who carried out a shooting attack in Hadra on March 27, 2022: Ayman Ighbariah (left) and Ibrahim Ighbariah (right), pictured at Haifa District Court on June 29, 2016, when he was on trial for trying to join the Islamic State in Syria. (Screenshot)
The two terrorists who carried out a shooting attack in Hadra on March 27, 2022: Ayman Ighbariah (left) and Ibrahim Ighbariah (right), pictured at Haifa District Court on June 29, 2016, when he was on trial for trying to join the Islamic State in Syria. (Screenshot)

The mayor of Umm al-Fahm came under fire Thursday after the city posted a condolence message mourning two Islamic State-inspired terrorists who killed two Border Police officers in a shooting attack in Hadera earlier this week.

The municipality deleted the Facebook post, signed by Mayor Samir Mahamed, after about an hour following a public outcry from government ministers and others. Mahamed later apologized and said he had not seen the post before publication.

The post mourned the deaths of Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, cousins from the northern Arab city, who were killed by police during the attack after fatally shooting officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat. Ibrahim had been previously jailed for attempting to join the jihadist group.

“On my behalf, on behalf of my friends, on behalf of the employees of the Umm al-Fahm Municipality and on behalf of all the residents, we send our sincere and just condolences to the family of Yusuf Rushdi, and we express our sorrow over the deaths of their sons: Ayman Ahmad Yusuf Ighbariah and Ibrahim Hassan Yusuf Ighbariah,” read the post, issued by the city and on behalf the mayor. “We hope God will have mercy on them and forgive them, and we strengthen the family and their relatives.”

The message did not mention what the two terrorists had done. It was similar to other messages posted by the city mourning the deaths of other residents.

The municipality deleted the post after an hour, after Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked sent a message to the mayor.

“It is inconceivable for a municipality in the State of Israel to console families of terrorists,” Shaked’s office said in a statement.

“The Interior Minister will continue to show zero tolerance for supporting terrorism on social networks or anywhere else.”

According to Channel 12 news, Mahamed apologized and blamed an external company running the city’s Facebook page. The city had condemned the terrorists’ act on the night of the attack.

“The post went up on the Facebook page without my permission or knowledge, this is a serious mistake by the spokespersons,” Mahamed told Channel 12. “I asked to remove the post immediately, and the issue is now being examined by the relevant authorities. We disclaim this publication which does not represent Umm al-Fahm and the municipality.”

Dr. Samir Sobhi Mahamed, Mayor of the Israeli Arab town Umm al-Fahm, in his office, on February 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Mahamed said that he is acquainted with the head of the family mentioned in the post, but denied that he met with any of his relatives since the attack.

Asked what the situation in the city is like after the attack, Mahamed said “it would be a lie to say things are normal.”

“There is a lot of tension in the city, students are not coming to school, people are staying at home instead of going to work,” he said.

“However,” he noted, “we will not give in to this or relent, no matter if this [radical] minority appears from among us or from another community.”

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