Yerushalayim (Ilan Evyatar/TPS) – The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday night’s terror attack in Yerushalayim in which a female Border Police officer was killed in a combined shooting and stabbing attack. The attack is the first to be claimed by ISIS in Israel and the group declared it “will not be the last.”
“The Lions of the Caliphate carried out an attack in the city of Jerusalem,” the group said in a statement in Arabic on its Amaq website.
According to a police spokesman, two attacks took place around 7:30 p.m as Shabbos descended on the city. In one attack, two terrorists shot at a police patrol and attempted to stab the officers. The two were shot dead by police. In the second incident, a terrorist stabbed Staff Sergeant Hadas Malka, 23, as she and her patrol heard shooting and ran toward the scene of the first attack. Malka suffered critical injuries and was taken to Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital where she died of her wounds. The assailant was shot dead by police.
A spokesman for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) named the three terrorists as Ibrahim Salah, Adel Ankoush and Osama Atta – Palestinians from the village of Deir Abu Mash’al some 24 kilometers west of Ramallah. The Shin Bet said all three had either been arrested by Israeli security forces in the past or were known to have been involved in terrorist activities.
Previous attacks in Israel have been inspired by ISIS, however, if the Islamic State claim is verified, Friday’s attack would be the first to be actually carried out by the group.
On January 1, 2016, an Israeli-Arab opened fire on a bar in Tel Aviv, killing two people and later shot dead a taxi driver as he made his escape. In June of the same year, two Palestinian gunmen killed four people at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market.
Hamas, however, denied the ISIS claim in a statement quoted by the French news agency AFP.
“The claim by the Islamic State group is an attempt to muddy the waters,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abou Zouhri who said the attack had been carried out by “two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas.”