Bennett: Second Attack by ISIS Supporters Requires Israel to Adapt Quickly to New Threat

One of the attackers served a year and a half in an Israeli prison after attempting to enter Syria and fight for Islamic State

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The scene of the shooting attack in Hadera, on Sunday night.
The scene of the shooting attack in Hadera, on Sunday night.Credit: Rami Shllush

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday that Israeli security forces must adapt to the "new threat" posed by Islamic State supporters, after two people were killed in a shooting attack in Hadera, the second attack linked to the militant group in Israel within a week.

"A second attack by ISIS supporters inside Israel requires the security forces to adapt quickly to the new threat," said Bennett. "And so we will do so. I urge citizens to continue to be vigilant. Together, we will also be able to defeat this enemy."

One of the two attackers who carried out the shooting Sunday had served a year and a half in an Israeli prison following a 2016 conviction for attempting to enter Syria to become an Islamic State fighter.

Ibrahim Agbarieh, 29, from the Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm was arrested by Turkish police ahead of boarding a bus headed for the Syrian border. Apparently information provided to Turkey by Israeli authorities led to the arrest.

The second assailant, Ayman Agbarieh, also from Umm al-Fahm, identified with the Islamic State. He was arrested by the Shin Bet security service in 2017 on suspicion of weapons violations, but was released three weeks later without charges.

>> ANALYSIS: Second terror attack in a week reflects Israeli intel's shortcomings

Bennett also extended his condolences to the victims of the shooting attack, saying that their heroism would not be forgotten.

Two people were killed in the shooting, both of them 19-year-old members of the Border Police.

"My heart breaks for the death of Border Police members Shirel Abukarat and Yazan Falah, who died shielding civilians with their bodies from vile murderers" a statement from Bennett said. "I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded and send my deep condolences to the family." 

Five other people – a Border Police member and four civilians – are hospitalized at Hadera's Hillel Yaffeh Medical Center. The hospital said Monday that the Border Police officer is in very serious condition. Another person is in moderate condition, and the rest were lightly injured. 

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai visited the wounded on Monday, and said that the two gunmen had arrived to the scene with a large amount of weapons and ammunition, and that "if they were not hurt at that moment, we would have woken up to a different morning. They planned a bigger murder spree and planned to kill everything that crossed their path."

Five people were arrested overnight on suspicion of aiding the assailants or knowing of their plans. Three of the suspects are residents of Umm al-Fahm, the Arab Israeli city from which both of the assailants hailed. A Border Police force is being sent to the city on Monday, and police have set up roadblocks on Israel's central roads. The police have raised its threat level to the highest possible, and additional military and Border Police forces will be sent to the West Bank and its border with Israel.

The armed assailants, Ibrahim Agbarieh and Ayman Agbarieh, arrived at a Hadera bus station in the city and began shooting toward people standing there, killing Falah and Abukarat. They then took the victim's weapons and began a shooting spree, the police said. Border Police forces who were in the area and heard the gunshots opened fire toward the assailants, killing them.

The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack, and both of the gunmen were affiliated with the organization. According to a senior police official, Ibrahim Agbarieh had tried to join the group in 2016, and Ayman was arrested by the Shin Bet security service in 2017 on suspicion of weapons offenses, but was not indicted.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, praised the shooting as a “heroic operation.”

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