Amid deadly bombings, fears of renewed violence in Israel are mountingOn March 31, 2022 by editor
JERUSALEM AND LONDON – The deadly shootings in Israel have raised renewed fears that the security situation is deteriorating as Palestinians approach the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
On Tuesday, a gunman opened fire on civilians on BRAC Street, a town just outside Tel Aviv, killing five people, including an Israeli police officer, before firing on a suspect.
Tuesday’s killing marks the third in a series of unprovoked attacks identified by Israeli authorities as terrorism in just eight days, a wave of violence that has killed 11 people and raised concerns among political leaders and analysts about further attacks.
On Thursday morning, two Palestinians were killed and seven others were injured in an Israeli army operation in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. In response to Jenin’s attack, the head of Islamic Jihad has ordered all forces to be on high alert.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who warned of escalating violence in Israel just 24 hours before Benny BRAC’s shooting, condemned the attack.
“We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack on Beni Brack in Israel, which killed five innocent people,” Blinken said. “It comes after two more recent terrorist attacks in Hadera and Bey Sheva in Israel. This violence is unacceptable. Israelis – like people all over the world – should be able to live in peace and without fear. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed in the attack. “
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to respond strongly to recent terrorist attacks.
“Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism,” he said. “My heart goes out to the families of those who lost loved ones tonight, and I pray for the well-being of the injured. The security forces are working. We will. No, we will win. “
Nine Israelis and two Ukrainians have been killed in three separate attacks by authorities since March 22. Earlier attacks were carried out by Arab nationals. The suspect on Tuesday was a Palestinian, a resident of the occupied West Bank, who was living in Israel illegally.
Hamas, the militant group in charge of the Gaza Strip, has described the latest attack as “heroic” but has not officially claimed responsibility. Palestinian news agency Wafa reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the killing of Israeli citizens and warned against retaliation targeting the Palestinian people.
In response to the violence, 3,000 Israeli police will be deployed in Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan, according to Israeli TV Channel 12.
On Wednesday, Bennett announced new security measures and called on all licensed Israelis to start carrying weapons, adding to the tense situation.
This is the highest number of casualties since 2015. Different then, however, when most of the attacks were identified as “lone wolf” knife attacks on Jerusalem and the West Bank, the latest attack in Israel was carried out boldly in large cities in the center of the country using automatic weapons.
The second of a trio of recent attacks took place in Hedra, led by two men reported to have received training in Syria. The apparent rise of some Islamic State groups’ sleeper cells, their ability to carry out such attacks and their ability to infiltrate the Palestinian community inside Israel and find recruits to carry out such attacks, marks a change in the security situation, analysts say.
The attacks came as a surprise to many observers, with some noting that issues that came to the fore during the conflict between Israel and Gaza in May 2021 remained unresolved.
Inheriting Arab states normalizing relations with Israel, there is a perception among analysts that hopes for a peace deal are fading – and without that hope there is a threat of more violence.
Israel’s “Nationality Bill”, enacted in 2018, which redefined Israel as a nation-state for the Jewish people, has also proved controversial for the estimated 2 million Arabs living abroad and at home. There are fears that the increase could spark violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank and lead to a repeat of the 2021 war.
And it charges days like Wednesday to commemorate Earth Day or Saturday, the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, and does not address complaints, which could tip the scale towards a new wave of violence.
Conner Finagan of ABC News contributed to this report