The Latest: Hamas leader praises ‘heroic’ knife attacker
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on developments in Israel and the Palestinian territories (all times local):
The leader of the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza praised a Palestinian who stabbed three Israelis to death in their home in a phone call to the attacker’s father.
Ismail Haniyeh called the attack “heroic” Sunday and said the assailant “lifted the heads of the nation high.”
The 20-year-old Palestinian jumped over the fence of a West Bank settlement and entered a house surprising a family that was celebrating a new grandchild during their traditional Sabbath meal. He stabbed to death Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children, 46-year-old Chaya and 35-year-old Elad, while his daughter-in-law escaped to another room to shelter her young children.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a ceremony Sunday soon after the victims were brought to rest that “terror will never defeat us.”
Israel’s minister of public security says metal detectors set at the entrance to a major Jerusalem shrine that angered Palestinians could be removed if police have another way of ensuring security there.
Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 TV Sunday the devices could be replaced if police have an alternative security program. But he said there is no such plan at the moment.
Israel set up the new security measures last week after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. It says they are meant to prevent more attacks and notes they are in place at holy sites around the world.
Palestinians allege the devices are an Israeli attempt to control the Muslim-administered site and have launched mass protests.
Erdan dismissed such claims as lies. He said Israel’s enemies are using the metal detectors as an excuse to incite Palestinians to carry out attacks.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has confirmed that his decision to freeze ties with Israel, as a protest against Israeli policies at a major Jerusalem holy site, also includes a suspension of security coordination.
Coordination between Israeli troops and Abbas-loyal forces in the West Bank, largely against common foe Hamas, has been a constant in frequently hostile Israeli-Palestinian relations. Ending those ties could quickly escalate tensions.
Abbas’ initial announcement of suspension of “ties on all levels” left it unclear whether he was including security coordination.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying Sunday that “when we made these decisions, we took a firm and decisive stance, especially with regard to security coordination.”
Earlier, Israel’s defense minister had said suspending such cooperation would mainly harm the Palestinians.
Israel’s defense minister says it can live without security cooperation with the Palestinians, but they will suffer if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas carries through with his promise to do so.
Speaking to the YNet news site Sunday, Avigdor Lieberman says the security ties are mostly beneficial for the Palestinians anyway. He lambasted Abbas for not condemning a Palestinian assailant who stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family over the weekend.
Following conflicts over a Jerusalem holy site, Abbas announced Friday he would “freeze” ties with Israel “on all levels” until the new security measures Israel imposed at the site after a deadly shooting there were removed. Halting security coordination would have far-reaching repercussions and could sharply raise tensions with Israel.
Israel’s prime minister says the home of a Palestinian assailant who stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family will be demolished swiftly.
Benjamin Netanyahu says Sunday at his weekly Cabinet meeting that Israel will also act against those who incited to murder and glorified it.
Israel has repeatedly accused the Palestinian Authority of permitting anti-Israeli incitement in the public Palestinian discourse and vowed to act against it. Netanyahu called the attacker a “beast” who was incited to hate Jews.
The A 20-year-old Palestinian assailant infiltrated the settlement of Halamish late Friday surprising a family during their Sabbath dinner. He stabbed to death Yosef Salomon and his adult children, Chaya and Elad. A neighbor, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding the attacker.
A top adviser to the Palestinian president says they are holding a series of consultations with various countries to try and lower tensions in Jerusalem over a holy shrine.
Mahoud Abbas’ diplomatic adviser, Majdi Khaldi, says Sunday the Palestinians are coordinating with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco and others.
Abbas announced Friday he would “freeze” ties with Israel “on all levels” until the new security measures Israel imposed at the site after a deadly shooting there were removed. He did not say whether this means halting security coordination, which would have far-reaching repercussions and sharply raise tensions with Israel.
The site is administered by Muslim authorities under the auspices of Jordan but Israel maintains security control of the compound.
Israel has installed new security cameras at the entrance to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site.
The cameras were spotted Sunday as Israel said it was considering an “alternative” to the metal detectors at the contested shrine that set off a weekend of violence.
Israel set up the new security measures last week after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. It says they are a necessary measure to prevent more attacks but Muslims allege Israel is trying to expand its control at the Muslim-administered site and have launched mass prayer protests. Three Palestinians were killed in street clashes.
The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, told the Voice of Palestine he demands a complete return to the procedure before the initial attack.
The Israeli military says it has carried out a wave of West Bank arrests following a deadly stabbing attack against an Israeli family.
The military says Sunday that forces arrested 29 people, including nine members of the Hamas militant group.
A 20-year-old Palestinian assailant infiltrated the settlement of Halamish late Friday surprising a family during their Sabbath dinner. He stabbed to death Yosef Salomon and his adult children, Chaya and Elad. A neighbor, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding the attacker.
Israel fortified its troops in the West Bank and placed forces on high alert after the attack. It followed a day with some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years, which erupted over tensions at the Holy Land’s most contested shrine.