Israel Faces a 'New Wave of Terror'

Gunman kills 5, including a police officer, in 3rd attack in a week
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2022 7:18 AM CDT
3rd Attack in a Week Marks 'New Wave of Terror' in Israel
Ultra-Orthodox Jews stand near the covered body of a shooting victim in Bnei Brak, Israel, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

"We are dealing with a new wave of terror," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday after a gunman on a motorcycle killed five people with an assault rifle in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Police said they shot and killed the shooter—identified as Diaa Hamarsheh, a 27-year-old Palestinian from the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Yabad—who'd opened fire on two locations in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, reports the AP. A responding police officer who engaged the shooter was among those killed, along with two Ukrainian citizens, said police, who reportedly arrested five of Hamarsheh's relatives.

It was "one of the worst terrorist attacks in Israel in years" and raised the nationwide alert level to its highest, per the Washington Post. It was actually the third such attack in a week. The two others were "carried out by Palestinian citizens of Israel who were inspired by the Islamic State extremist group" and subsequently killed, the AP reports. Two gunmen shot and killed two police officers and injured six others in the central city of Hadera on Sunday and a knife-wielding man killed four people and injured two others in the southern city of Beersheba last week, with the Islamic State claiming responsibility. The group last claimed responsibility for an attack in Israel in June 2017, per CNN.

Islamist militant group Hamas praised Tuesday's "heroic operation," but did not claim responsibility. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, calling for peace. Death "only leads to further deterioration of the situation and instability," he said. "As in other waves [of terror], we will prevail," said Bennett as security was boosted in Israeli cities and the West Bank ahead of a converge of religious holidays. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins April 2, the Christian Holy Week leading up to Easter begins April 10, and Jewish Passover begins April 15. Last year, clashes in this period led to an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas. (Read more Israel stories.)

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