The Islamic State group today claimed responsibility for the fatal stabbing of an Israeli policewoman outside Jerusalem’s Old City. The jihadist group, in an online statement, said three IS fighters had targeted “a gathering of Jews” in an operation yesterday during which the three attackers were killed by Israeli police. The group warned that “this attack will not be the last”. The attack took place yesterday as Muslims marked the end of the third Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, during which tens of thousands of Palestinians from east Jerusalem and the West Bank attended prayers at the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site. “Female border policewoman injured critically in attack at Damascus gate,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld wrote in a statement. “3 Arab terrorists shot by police units that responded at the scene.” Police said the three were killed.
The policewoman was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died of her wounds. She was identified as Hadas Malka, 23, a staff sergeant major. According to police, two perpetrators opened fire at a group of police officers who returned fire, and a third stabbed the border policewoman a short distance away before being shot.
Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy identified the three attackers as Palestinians from the West Bank. Israel had eased restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians from the West Bank for Ramadan, including permitting daily family visits during Sundays through Thursdays.
Following the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone consultation with the chief of police and public security minister, and decided to cancel the family visits, a police statement read. Netanyahu, however, did not revoke the permission given to Palestinian men aged over 40 from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers, police said.
The Shin Bet internal security agency identified the three perpetrators as Braa Salah and Asama Atta, both born in 1998, and Adel Ankush, born the following year. All three were from Deir Abu Mashal, a village near Ramallah, and had been arrested for or involved in “popular terror activity,” a Shin Bet statement read.
A fourth Palestinian, a Hebron resident who had been identified by Palestinian security as a perpetrator, was in fact a passerby who was wounded by gunshots and taken to hospital, Israeli police said. Medics said four people besides the officer were wounded in the incident, two of them moderately and two lightly. Two of those wounded were Palestinians from east Jerusalem.