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Terrorists Bra'a Salah (L) and Adel Ankush
ISIS claims responsibility for deadly Jerusalem attack
Hamas denies ISIS claims, stressing the 3 terrorists were Palestinian; this is the first time ISIS takes responsibility for an Israeli attack.

The Islamic State group (ISIS) claimed responsibility for Friday's attack in Jerusalem, in which IDF Border Patrol soldier 1st Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, was killed. This is the first terror attack in Israel the group has ever claimed to have executed.

 

 

ISIS's Amaq news agency stated the attack "will not be the last."

 

The three Palestinians terrorists who carried out the shooting and stabbing attack were shot dead by Israeli security forces. The attacks occurred simultaneously in two areas near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's walled Old City.

 

Site of the combined attack at Damascus Gate (Photo: Reuters)
Site of the combined attack at Damascus Gate (Photo: Reuters)

 

"The shahids left terror in the hearts of the Jews, and with Allah's help it will not be the last," ISIS's statement read, saying that the terrorists prayed before beginning their attack. The group added that "Jews must expect to have their country destroyed" by ISIS terrorists.

 

ISIS's statement, in which it takes responsibility for the attack
ISIS's statement, in which it takes responsibility for the attack

 

Hamas, however, rejected ISIS' attempt to claim credit for the attack, with spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri saying the credit claim "is an attempt to muddle the map. The attack was carried out by two Palestinians belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and a Hamas member."

 

Terrorist organization and political party the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine confirmed that two of the terrorists were its members.

 

Killed terrorist Adel Ankush
Killed terrorist Adel Ankush

 

"The attack in Jerusalem is a new proof that the Palestinian people are continuing their revolution against the occupier and that the intifada is continuing until full freedom is achieved," a Hamas official added.

 

Killed terrorist Bra'a Salah
Killed terrorist Bra'a Salah

 

Fatah came out against Israel for the deaths of the three terrorists. "We condemn the war crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem tonight against three young Palestinians. The silence of the international community on the continuation of the occupation and its crimes encourages Israel to shed the blood of the Palestinians," said Osama al-Qawasmi, a Fatah spokesman.

 

He went on to say that "the crime that took place this evening in cold blood and claimed the lives of three young Palestinians. The victory of the blood of the shahids will be adherence to the land, the holy places and their protection."

 

Damascus Gate (Photo: EPA)
Damascus Gate (Photo: EPA)

 

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad  claimed that "The blood of the martyrs is a clear message that the intifada is continuing and that the will of the people is alive and determined."

 

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, denied that statement and said the assailants have acted out of desperation over Israeli occupation of land sought by Palestinians for a state.

 

One of the killed terrorists (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
One of the killed terrorists (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

At this stage, a connection between the three terrorists and ISIS has not been confirmed, beyond the group's announcement, and Israeli security sources state ISIS's claim is believed to be false.

 

Nevertheless, according to the SITE intelligence group, this is the first time ISIS has taken responsibility for an attack in Israel. In previous attacks such as the Tel Aviv attack on the Sarona Market and the Tel Aviv attack on the Simta pub on Dizengoff Street, the terrorists were reportedly only inspired by ISIS.

 

Sources in the security establishment additionally noted that the style of attack conducted Friday evening is reminiscent of the combined attack that killed border policewoman Hadar Cohen last February.

  

Shortly after Friday's Jerusalem attack, the Shin Bet identified the three attackers as Adel Ankush and Bra'a Salah from Deir Abu Mash'al, west of Ramallah, and Osama Ata. Two of them were arrested in the past for involvement in terrorism activities.

 

Security officials believe their attack was planned weeks in advance and was the result of a local Ramallah initiative that was not prompted by any larger terrorist organization.

 

Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky

 

It was also discovered that all three terrorists were staying in Israel illegally. The defense establishment is looking into whether their relatives knew of their intentions. The Shin Bet is investigating how the squad was established, purchased firearms and planned the combined attack under the radar.

 

During the recent hunger strike of Palestinian security prisoners, one of the terrorists, Adel Ankush, shared news coverage of the strike, in addition to video clips of clashes with IDF forces and many religious, Islamic and Ramadan fasts.

 

Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy described the attack, saying, "At one scene, near Sultan Suleiman St., two terrorists—one armed with a semi-automatic weapon and the other a knife—attacked police. Police responded and killed both attackers at the scene. Several meters away, at the Damascus Gate, an additional terrorist stabbed a border policewoman (1st Sgt. Malka), critically wounding her. The terrorist was shot by other officers in the area."

   

Photo: EPA
Photo: EPA

 

Two additional members of the security forces were reportedly wounded, as well as a 22-year-old man and a 40-year-old man, who were taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in moderate condition after sustaining gunshot wounds to the torso and limbs, respectively.

 

Immediately following the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the cancellation of permits for family visits from the territories to Israel. However, permits for entry into Israel were left in place for those approved entry for the Ramadan prayers.

 

The decision was made during a conversation with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and other security officials.

 

"The IDF and the security forces are operating in the area of the village from which the terrorists left," the Prime Minister's Office said. "Members of the clans the terrorists belonged to will be denied the right to enter Israel. The village has been placed under lock down." 

 

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