Chris Lange, FISM News
A Palestinian associated with the Islamic terrorist group Hamas was killed by Israeli police officers after he shot five people, leaving one dead and four injured, in Jerusalem on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Police say the gunman was a 42-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem who taught at a nearby high school. Hamas later identified the man as Fadi Abu Shkhaidem. Two Israeli police officers were also injured during the attack.
The shooting occurred near a gated entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, a site revered by the Jewish people as the location where Abraham offered his son, Isaac, to God and where two significant Jewish temples once stood.
According to Israeli officials, Eliyahu Kay, 26, a Jewish South African immigrant who worked at the Western Wall, was fatally shot by the gunman. The identities of the injured victims have not been released.
“On a morning like this, one can draw support from the [British] decision to designate Hamas – including what is called its political wing – as a terrorist organization,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as he addressed his cabinet following the incident. Britain joined the U.S. and European Union in banning Hamas as a terrorist organization Friday.
EU ambassador-designate to Israel, Dimiter Tzantchev called the attack against Israeli civilians “senseless. “Violence is never the answer,” he said.
A spokesman for Hamas praised Shkhaidem for the attack, calling it a “heroic operation,” but did not claim responsibility for the incident. “Our people’s resistance will continue to be legitimate by all means and tools against the Zionist occupier until our desired goals are achieved and the occupation is expelled from our holy sites and all of our lands,” said Abdel Latif al-Qanou.
The incident marks the second attack in the walled city within a four-day period. A 16-year-old Palestinian stabbed two Israeli police officers Wednesday before he was fatally shot by security forces.
Hamas, a militant Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, has steadfastly refused to peaceably coexist with Israel. The controversial land in the Old City and other portions of East Jerusalem were captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War; however, many Palestinians claim the Israelis are “occupiers” of the land on which several Palestinian settlements remain. Reports of violent attacks against Israelis by Palestinian assailants have increased since the collapse of peace talks in 2014.
Thousands showed up on Monday to pay their respects to Kay as he was laid to rest. According to The Jerusalem Post Kay was memorialized by his brother as a “nomad” and someone that was dedicated to the nation of Israel. In his speech he encouraged others to use the event to further solidify Israel’s place in the Middle East:
Every person has their own mission and Eli would want that everyone give the best of their ability in whatever way works for them to protect the Jewish people and advance our country.