Israel arrests five suspects after deadly IS attack

AFP , Monday 28 Mar 2022

Israeli authorities have arrested five suspects following an attack claimed by the Islamic State group that killed two policemen, the police said on Monday.

Israeli security forces gather at the site of an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group that left two Israeli police dead in the northern city of Hadera on March 27 GIL COHEN-MAGEN. AFP

The officers were shot dead on Sunday in the northern Israeli city of Hadera as the Jewish state hosted a landmark meeting of top US and Arab diplomats.

Five people were also wounded when the gunmen opened fire at the police and passers-by in Hadera -- the second attack since Tuesday linked to the jihadist group.

The police officers killed were identified as Shirel Aboukrat, a French-Israeli citizen, and Yazan Falah. They were both 18 years old. Their funerals were to be held later in the day.

A security source said the two gunmen were Israeli Arabs from the northern Arab-populated town of Umm al-Fahm.

Police said they were identified by Israeli intelligence as local IS operatives and killed by counterterrorism officers who happened to be nearby.

Israeli police, in cooperation with the domestic Shin Bet security agency, carried out raids in the Umm al-Fahm.

"Three suspects were arrested there early on Monday on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation were arrested," a police statement said.

The two other suspects were captured elsewhere, the police said, adding that weapons and books linked to IS were seized.

IS, in a rare claim of an attack inside Israel, said the assault was carried out by one of its commandos.

On Tuesday, a man wielding a knife stabbed several people and ran over another in southern Israel, killing four, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country in recent years.

Authorities identified the attacker as an Israeli Arab who had previously been convicted for supporting IS.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who travelled to Hadera on Sunday, said in a tweet: "A second attack by ISIS (IS) supporters inside Israel requires the security forces to quickly readapt to this new threat."

Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian movement that rules the Gaza Strip praised Sunday's attack as a "natural and legitimate response" to Israeli "crimes against our people".

It was also welcomed by the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad militant group and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

Arab-Israeli lawmaker Mansour Abbas denounced the attack in a statement saying: "Heinous terrorism by ISIS does not represent Arab society in Israel."

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