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Israel buries victims of latest IS attack; five arrested

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Israeli security forces gather at the site of an attack that left two Israeli police dead in the northern city of Hadera. AFP

Israel buries victims of latest IS attack; five arrested

Hundreds of people attended the funerals on Monday of two 19-year-old Israeli police officers killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, with police announcing five arrests so far.

The officers were shot dead on Sunday in the northern Israeli city of Hadera as Israel hosted a landmark meeting of top US and Arab diplomats. The assailants were killed by officers who arrived at the scene.

Five people were also wounded when the gunmen opened fire at the police and passers-by in Hadera – the second attack since Tuesday linked to the jihadist group.

The officers killed were identified as Shirel Aboukrat, a French-Israeli citizen, and Yezen Falah.

Aboukrat was buried in the coastal city of Netanya, in a funeral attended by many officers, with her coffin draped in an Israeli flag.

Falah was buried on Monday in Kisra-Sumei, a Druze village in the Galilee in Israel’s north.

A security source said the perpetrators were Israeli Arabs from the northern Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm.

The UN envoy for Middle East peace, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply disturbed” by the Hadera violence, while Umm al-Fahm’s mayor, Samir Mahamid, denounced “the killing of innocent people.”

Israeli police, in cooperation with the domestic Shin Bet security agency, carried out raids in Umm al-Fahm.

“Three suspects were arrested there early on Monday on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation,” a police statement said.

The two other suspects were captured elsewhere, the police said, adding that weapons and books linked to IS were seized.

IS, in a rare claim of an attack inside Israel, said the assault on Sunday was carried out by one of its commandos.

Last Tuesday, a man wielding a knife stabbed several people and ran over another in southern Israel, killing four, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country in recent years.

Authorities identified the attacker as an Israeli Arab who had previously been convicted for supporting IS.

Over the weekend the police arrested another man from southern Israel on suspicion of supporting IS, the police announced on Monday.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who travelled to Hadera on Sunday, said in a tweet: “A second attack by ISIS (IS) supporters inside Israel requires the security forces to quickly readapt to this new threat.”

Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian movement that rules the Gaza Strip, praised Sunday’s attack as a “natural and legitimate response” to Israeli “crimes against our people”.

It was also welcomed by the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad militant group and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.


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