Bennett: Israel Faces New Battle Against ISIS

“We are witnessing an alarming awakening” of ISIS affiliation in Israel, warns police minister

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Israeli Arabs, Terrorism, ISIS
Two more Israelis dead after terrorists affiliated with ISIS strike in the heart of the Jewish state.
Two more Israelis dead after terrorists affiliated with ISIS strike in the heart of the Jewish state. Photo: Gili Yaari/Flash90

For years the Islamic State (ISIS) has been off most people’s radar. Presumably, the jihadist horde had been defeated in Iraq and Syria and was no longer a serious threat. But ISIS isn’t primarily a political or military entity (though it did briefly establish what it called a “caliphate”). ISIS is an ideology, and one that seems to have taken hold in certain parts of Israeli Arab society.

For the second time in less than a week, Israeli Arab terrorists affiliated with ISIS went on a murderous rampage on Sunday evening, killing two Israeli police officers and wounding 12 other people, two seriously.

The attack occurred in the central town of Hadera. The two terrorists, cousins from the town of Umm el-Fahm, arrived to the scene of the attack armed with numerous guns, knives and a large number of bullets. They then calmly began shooting at every passerby, including a public bus, as seen in the following video.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement released following the attack that the rise of “Islamic State [ISIS] supporters in Israel requires the security forces to adapt quickly to a new threat, and they have. Together, we will also be able to defeat this enemy.”

Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev added in remarks to Army Radio: “It’s a very serious attack. We are talking about terrorists belonging to the Islamic State. We are witnessing an alarming awakening, that could happen in any country.”

The Islamic State itself claimed responsibility for the Hadera attack, writing on its website Amaq: “Two members of the Jewish (state’s) police force were killed and others were injured in an immersive commando attack.”

At least one of the cousins tried to join ISIS back in 2016, and both had previously served jail time for terror-related crimes.

The fact that the terrorists inflicted relatively few casualties considering how heavily armed they were was thanks to the swift action of a group of Border Police offices who were sitting at a nearby restaurant. They immediately rushed to the scene after hearing the first shots, and managed to quickly kill the two terrorists.

The two Israeli fatalities were from among those police officers, and were later named as Yazan Fallah and Shirel Aboukaret, both just 19-years-old.

Israeli security forces reportedly arrested several additional members of the terrorists’ family in Umm el-Fahm overnight. The alert level throughout the country was raised, and the IDF reinforced the border with the Palestinian-controlled “West Bank,” even though last night’s killers came from within Israel.

Mansour Abbas, head of the Islamist political party Ra’am, which is part of Bennett’s ruling coalition, openly condemned the attack. “This does not reflect Israeli Arab society, which strives to live with respect and in accordance with the law, and honors coexistence between Arabs and Jews,” he said. Abbas appealed to Arab politicians and mayors to work to combat violence in their communities.

Attacks carried out by Arab Israelis hit the country particularly hard because they significantly shake confidence in peaceful coexistence within Israel’s borders. Concerns about further terrorist attacks are growing. Four people were murdered in a knife attack in Beersheva just a few days ago. According to media reports, the perpetrator, an Israeli Bedouin, was likewise a disciple of ISIS.

Further attacks cannot be ruled out in the run-up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Various Palestinian terrorist groups have called for increased violence against Israelis to honor Ramadan, which begins next Saturday.

Furthermore, many media do not rule out a connection with the current gathering of the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco in southern Israel, which was also attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken stated via Twitter: “We condemn today’s terrorist attack in Hadera. Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society. We stand with our Israeli partners and offer our condolences to the families of the victims.”

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