Two Israelis Killed in Shooting Attack Amid U.S.-Mideast Summit, Assailants Shot Dead

Attack by two Israeli citizens comes days after deadly stabbing and ramming in Be'er Sheva, and as officials warn of escalation ahead of Ramadan

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The site of the deadly shooting attack in Hadera, on Sunday.
The site of the deadly shooting attack in Hadera, on Sunday.Credit: Rami Shlush

Two people were killed on Sunday in a shooting attack in the central Israeli city of Hadera, police said, in the second deadly attack within days.

The two assailants, who police say are Arab Israeli citizens, were shot dead by undercover officers operating at the scene.

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

The two victims killed in the attack were Israeli Border Police officers Yazan Falah, 19, and Shirel Abukarat, 19.

Shirel Abukarat (left) and Yazan Falah.

One of the assailants is Ibrahim Agbarieh, who tried to join ISIS, a source in the police said. Defense officials are also looking into a possible connection to the ISIS sympathizer who killed four people in Israel's south last week.

ISIS took credit for the attack on the organization's Telegram account. Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, praised the attack as a “heroic operation.”

The crime scene in Hadera, on Sunday. Credit: Rami Shlush

Security forces arrested several members of the assailants' families overnight, on suspicion that they were aware of the planned attack. Police suspect that the shooters had co-conspirators, and swept the scene of the attack. 

he attack comes as foreign ministers from Israel and four Arab countries meet in the Negev for a historic summit, along with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's has arrived at the police station in Hadera on Sunday evening. 

Emergency services reported that two people in their 20s are severely wounded, while two others, a 45-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman are in moderate condition. 

At least some of the casualties are members of security forces. 

The armed assailants, who according to police are from the nearby city of Umm al-Fahm, came to a bus station in the city and started shooting toward two people standing there, killing one. They then took the weapon of the person who was killed and launched a shooting spree, the police said. 

The two undercover officers who were sitting at a nearby restaurant ran toward the site after hearing the gunshots and began shooting toward the assailants. A witness said dozens of bullets were fired. 

The condition of two officers initially reported to be critically wounded and of the two assailants remains unclear.

"Luckily, our officers managed to neutralize the assailants and prevent a bigger terrorist attack," national police spokesman Eli Levy said on Israel's Kan television.

Security forces on alert 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter that he had updated the "Negev Summit" participants on the attack, adding that "all foreign ministers condemned the attack and sent their condolences to the families" of those killed.

According to Lapid, this was "an attempt by violent extremists to terrorize" Israelis. "Israel will not relent in its fight against terrorism," he added. "We will stand together with our allies against anyone who tries hurting us."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently in Israel, condemned the attack on Twitter. "We stand with our Israeli partners and send our condolences to the families of the victims," he wrote.

The IDF and police are stepping up security amid the rising tensions in the West Bank the areas bordering it.

On Tuesday, four people were killed and two wounded in a stabbing and ramming attack in the southern city of Be'er Sheva. The assailant, who was known as an ISIS supporter, was shot dead. 

The Be'er Sheva attack was the third stabbing attack in one week. Last Sunday, a 20-year-old Israeli police officer was moderately wounded in a suspected stabbing attack in East Jerusalem.

A man was wounded a day earlier in another stabbing attack in Jerusalem. The assailant, a Palestinian resident of the city, was shot by officers at the scene and was taken to hospital in serious condition.

The military has recently expressed concern over a deteriorating security situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem ahead of the Passover and Ramadan holidays, and following several deadly incidents between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. 

Last year, clashes between Israeli police and Muslim protesters during Ramadan boiled over into an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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