19 June 2017
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel revoked the permits Sunday of 200,000 Palestinians to enter Israel that were approved for the holy month of Ramadan following two near simultaneous attacks on police that killed a border officer near the Old City. Israeli military body COGAT posted the announcement on its Arabic-language Facebook page. Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that preparations are underway to destroy the homes of the Palestinian attackers and tighten security at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City.
Three Palestinian attackers armed with an automatic weapon and knives assaulted officers on duty near the Old City in two locations Friday evening.
Police said a policewoman was rushing to respond to that initial attack nearby when a Palestinian assaulted her with a knife. She later died of her wounds in hospital.
Following the attack, the Israeli army raided Deir Abu Mashal, the village near Ramallah the three perpetrators hailed from, sealing off its entrances and mapping out the homes of the three for demolition.
Daesh (ISIS) took responsibility for the attacks but two Palestinian groups, Hamas and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine, insisted the three attackers were their members and accused Daesh of trying to undermine their efforts.
Israel had previously announced its annual measures for Ramadan that included 200,000 permits for Palestinian family visits from the West Bank and access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
COGAT said the visiting permits were canceled but the prayer permits remain unchanged.
Friday’s deadly attack affected thousands of families across the West Bank who planned to visit relatives over the Ramadan holiday. Layali Othman, 37, from Ramallah, said her family received a permit and had planned to visit Jaffa and Jerusalem. “We are sad, that was the only opportunity for the kids to see the sea and see Jerusalem,” she said.
At a Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu lashed out at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for not condemning the attack. “Instead of condemning the attack, Fatah ... issued a statement in which it condemn[s] the officers who killed the terrorists, and praised the murderers as heroes,” Netanyahu said.
A statement by Fatah carried on the official Palestinian news agency Wafa condemned the “killing” of the three Palestinians.
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