The IDF thwarted a would be knife attack on Tuesday morning, killing the Palestinian assailant who ran at soldiers on patrol in the vicinity of the al-Faria refugee camp near Nablus, the Jerusalem Post reports.
While soldiers from the Duvdevan special forces unit were performing routine activities, the man ran at them brandishing a knife and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” an army statement said.
Soldiers shot at the man after initial attempts to stop the impending attack failed. He died at the scene.
Palestinian media identified the man as 32-year-old Muhammad al-Salahi, who had spent three years in Israeli prisons.
Israel is under a new threat of terrorism by lone-wolf assailants, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned as police continued to crack down on relatives and neighbours of an east Jerusalem man who rammed his truck into a group of soldiers in the capital on Sunday, killing four, the Times of Israel reports.
While Israel has dealt with spates of car-rammings and stabbings over the past years, Netanyahu said this attack was differentiated by the fact that the attacker seemed to take action with little to no forethought.
“I think the most important thing to understand is that we are under a new kind of attack by a lone wolf that gets inspiration and decides in a moment to act, in this case with a car-ramming,” Netanyahu said.
The attack was met with a series of preventative and punitive steps ordered by Netanyahu and his high-level security cabinet.
Following the attack, police arrested nine residents of Jabel Mukaber in connection with the attack. Five of them were members of Qunbar’s family, police said.
The neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber, from which multiple terror attacks have originated over the past year, has been encircled by security forces, who placed a cordon on the village and began carrying out security checks on anyone leaving the area toward other parts of Jerusalem.
Netanyahu said he had ordered concrete blocks placed at popular bus stops and hitchhiking posts in the West Bank and Jerusalem, in an effort to prevent further lone-wolf terror attacks.
The cabinet also ordered the security services to detain and investigate anyone found praising or celebrating the attack, after claims surfaced that some residents of east Jerusalem cheered and distributed sweets to passers-by after the attack.
It also gave permission for security agencies to place anyone who expresses support for Islamic State in administrative detention, a controversial counter-terror measure that allows for the indefinite detention of terror suspects without trial.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told supporters of Sgt Elor Azaria, the soldier convicted of shooting dead a disarmed Palestinian assailant, that they should “sit quietly and stop making noise and a ruckus” if they want to help him, the Times of Israel reports.
Last Wednesday, the Jaffa Military Court convicted Azaria, 19, of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Palestinian stabber Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in the West Bank city of Hebron last March. Sharif was lying on the ground, disarmed by soldiers and wounded after stabbing two Israeli troops, when Azaria shot him in the head.
In the aftermath of the contentious trial, some of Azaria’s backers took to social media to denounce and threaten IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and the military judges who presided over the case.
Since the verdict was announced, Lieberman, who voiced support for Azaria before entering the Defence Ministry last year, has called on Israelis to respect the court’s decision and asked the soldier’s attorneys to agree to a deal in which they forgo filing an appeal in exchange for a lighter sentence.
The soldier’s sentencing is scheduled for January 15.
“We all know that on the one side [of this case] there’s a decorated soldier and on the other there’s a terrorist who came to kill Jews,” Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
“We’re doing everything to guard both the values of the IDF and the soldier Azaria. Anything else only hurts,” he said.
The day after the verdict, Liberman urged his fellow cabinet members to refrain from demanding Azaria be pardoned, singling out Education Minister Naftali Bennett for particular criticism. Bennett, who leads the religious-nationalist Jewish Home Party, has called for Azaria to be given an “immediate” pardon.
“I expect all ministers to show restraint, to keep quiet, and to let the security establishment deal with the issue in a quiet, responsible manner and with discretion,” Leiberman told Army Radio in an interview last week. “I think it’s appropriate for the education minister to know how to read the law — and the law is clear. All the slogans that we are hearing at the moment are self-serving, and not for the benefit of Elor Azaria.”Wednesday, January 11, 2017