Day After Lethal Jerusalem Attack, Israeli Army Fears Copycat Terror Attacks

Israel revokes 250,000 entry permits from Palestinians; Netanyahu demands Palestinian Authority, world condemn attack

Israeli policemen secure the scene of the shooting and stabbing attack outside Damascus gate in Jerusalem's old city June 16, 2017.
Israeli policemen secure the scene of the shooting and stabbing attack outside Damascus gate in Jerusalem's old city June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

A day after a deadly attack left a young Israeli officer dead in Jerusalem, the Israel Defense Forces fear copycats will attempt additional attacks in the coming day.

Three Palestinian assailants armed with guns and knives carried out an attack Friday night in Jerusalem that killed Hadas Malka, 23, a Border Policewoman, and left a number of people wounded. The attack was claimed by both Hamas and ISIS, but the army says it was the work of a local cell.

The defense establishment fears the deadly attack will "inspire" Palestinians to attempt a similar one. They say such attacks are usually not planned out and only take place due to the perceived success of the attack in exacting a cost in life.

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An initial investigation by the army seems to indicate the three Palestinian assailants entered Jerusalem without a legal permit. According to sources within the IDF, the three went to the Temple Mount and prayed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque before the attack.

At least two of the attackers are known to be part of a local cell, which the army believes was not working at the behest of a terror organization like ISIS or Hamas, and had been jailed in Israel in the past for throwing stones and firebombs.

Fighting incitment with work permits

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Palestinian incitement regarding the attack, and said: "I demand that the Palestinian Authority condemn the terror attack at Damascus Gate last night, and I expect the world to do the same."

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also blasted Palestinian incitement, saying: "We will continue to fight vicious Palestinian terror and relentless incitement with all our might. The Palestinian Authority's thundering silence and refusal to condemn terror, as well as the statement by Fatah – that Abbas heads - that Israel murdered three innocent people, prove there is no partner."

Israel has revoked 250,000 permits allowing Palestinians to visit Israel on occasion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as a result of the attack. Muslim worshippers' access to the Temple Mount for Friday prayers however, remained unchanged.

The decision to revoke the permits was made during a conference call between Netanyahu and senior members of his cabinet, as well as top security officials.  

Deir Abu-Mash'al, the village the terrorists behind the attack came from, was closed Saturday and the families of the attackers have had their work permits in Israel rescinded.

According to the army, the houses of the attackers were mapped in preparation for the possibility of their being demolished. Signs were hung in the village explaining that the actions were being taken as a result of Friday night's attack.

Writing on Facebook, Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai, head of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said: "You've destroyed the Ramadan atmosphere in Judea and Samaria,"he said, using the Jewish and military term for the West Bank. "Three bastards who undertook this cowardly terror attack received praise from Fatah who falsely claimed they were innocent. This is incitement to terror. In response to this heinous crime and the incitement by Fatah officials to win popularity, Israel has decided to take action, the first is revoking 250,000 entry permits [for Palestinians visiting family in Israel] and revoking work permits from the kin of the terrorists."