Israel: Manhunt launched after new deadly attack in Elad

Israeli police led a manhunt at dawn on Friday after a deadly attack on three people in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, which was carried out on the anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish state. The police called on the public to provide information on the whereabouts of the attackers, and published pictures and names of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out the attack, which also resulted in the injury of four people, three of them seriously, according to the Magen David Adom (MDA). , the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.

According to a police statement, the two men, Asaad Yousef Al-Rifai, 19, and Tsabahi Imad Abu Shaker, 20, are from Rumana village, Jenin governorate, north of the occupied West Bank. ‘The scene of the attack was complicated,’ says Magen David Adom lifeguard Alon Rezkan, who said he saw a 40-year-old man dead near a roundabout, then another man unconscious in a nearby park, and was eventually declared dead. And another next to him died of his injuries.

This sixth attack against Israel since March 22 took place in Elad (center), a city of about 50,000 residents, including many ultra-Orthodox Jews, near Tel Aviv. The three victims of the attack are Yonatan Habakkuk, 44, Boaz Gul, 49, both residents of Elad, and Oren Ben Yiftach, 35, of Lod (center), according to Israeli media.

Gaza and the West Bank have been encircled

The armed Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad “celebrated” the “heroic” attack, calling it a “reaction” to recent tensions in Jerusalem, but not calling for it. For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced “the killing of Israeli civilians,” expressing his regret that “the killing of Palestinians and Israeli civilians leads to a deterioration of the situation,” according to the Palestinian Wafa Agency. Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the closure of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank until Sunday in order to “prevent the exodus of terrorists” into these Palestinian territories.

The Elad attack brings the death toll in attacks against Israel since March 22 to 18, some of which were carried out by Israeli Arabs and others by Palestinians. Following the first attacks, Israeli forces carried out a series of operations in the occupied West Bank. In total, at least 26 Palestinians, including assailants, have been killed since the beginning of this wave of attacks against Israel.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken “strongly” condemned the attack, according to a statement from the State Department. “It was a horrific attack, targeting innocent men and women, especially heinous while Israel celebrated its independence day,” the Secretary of State said, stressing that the United States stands “firmly” by its Israeli allies.

Tensions in Jerusalem

This operation (in Elad) testifies to the anger of our people over the occupation’s attacks on the holy sites. Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million people, said the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque could not go unpunished. “The desecration of the occupation forces (which is the name given by the Palestinians to the Israeli police and army) and gangs of settlers in Al-Aqsa has crossed all red lines,” said Muhammad Hamed Abul-Hassan, from the political bureau of Islamic Jihad. .

Meanwhile, clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians left nearly 300 injured in the mosque square in the Palestinian part of Jerusalem occupied since 1967 by Israel. After a break of several days tied to the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Jewish worshipers went to the courtyard on Thursday, the day of the 74th remembrance, according to the Hebrew calendar, for the founding of the state of Israel. Coinciding with the end of Muslim celebrations of Eid al-Fitr.

Under the undeclared status quo, non-Muslims can visit the Haram – the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest spot in Judaism under the name “Temple Mount” – but without praying there. However, an increasing number of Jews are going there, and the fact that some of them surreptitiously arrive there raises concerns that this status quo will be challenged among many Muslims. Over the past few weeks, the Israeli government has repeatedly expressed its unwillingness to change the status quo. Israel, which controls access to the site, continued to reopen it to Jews on Thursday despite calls from Palestinian officials and countries in the region who fear new clashes.

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