Two policemen killed in northern Israel in attack claimed by Islamic State

Israeli security forces at the scene of the attack, March 27, 2002, in Hadera.

Two police officers died and several people were injured in an attack in the Israeli town of Hadera (north), Sunday evening March 27.

Dudu Boani, a senior police official in the area, said special forces killed the attackers, two Israeli Arabs identified by Israeli intelligence as local Islamic State (IS) operatives. Hours later, the organization claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

“Two members of the Jewish police force were killed and several were injured in an attack by an undercover commando”said the IS in this press release, published by the Amaq propaganda site.

Footage from surveillance cameras in Hadera, a town between Tel Aviv and Haifa, shows two men opening fire with automatic weapons in a street where cars are driving.

“Two members of the Border Police counterterrorism units who were in a restaurant near the scene of the attack came out and neutralized the attackers”, an Israeli security source told Agence France-Presse (AFP). Shortly after, the security forces crisscrossed parts of Umm el-Fahm, an Arab town about twenty kilometers from Hadera, witnesses said.

Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List, a grouping of Arab Israeli political parties focusing its support in the north of the country, condemned the attack, saying it “had nothing to do with the political struggle that the Arab public is waging for their rights”.

In separate statements, the Palestinian armed Islamist movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad hailed “Hadera’s heroic operation”Hamas saying, without claiming organization, that it had been “carried out in response to the normalization summit on our land”.

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An attack in the middle of an international diplomatic summit

The attack comes as Israel hosts a summit on Sunday and Monday bringing together the heads of diplomacy from the United States, Egypt, the Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco in a locality in the Negev desert (south).

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz held evening consultations with the police and army chief, while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who had held talks earlier in the day in Jerusalem with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Hadera, where, according to his office, he met with local officials.

The head of Israeli diplomacy, Yair Lapid, said he had “informed” participants in the Negev summit. “All foreign ministers condemned the attack and conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims”he said in a statement.

On Tuesday, March 22, two men and two women were killed in a stabbing and ramming attack in Beersheva, the main city in the Negev desert. Stabbings against Israeli security forces occur sporadically in Jerusalem and are often carried out by Palestinians unrelated to ISIS.

The Beersheva assailant has been identified by authorities as Mohammed Abu al-Kiyan, a teacher from the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev who was sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for planning to travel to Syria to to fight within the Islamic State organization and for sermons making its apology.

Read also our editorial of February 5: The Islamic State organization, a still threatening hydra

The World with AFP

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