Israel on high alert after 3 deadly attacks in one week
(Update 1: Alters lede, headline and adds details)
Jerusalem, Mar 30 (EFE).- Tensions have rocketed in Israel after three deadly attacks in the space of a week left 11 dead just before the start of the Muslim holy month Ramadan.
At least five people were killed in a shooting near Tel Aviv on Tuesday, two days after an gunman killed two police officers in Hadera in a week of violence that began with a mass-stabbing that left four dead n Beersheba.
Israel’s security forces are now on their highest alert levels as the spike comes a few days before the beginning of Ramadan, which is usually characterized by an increase in the tension in the area.
Last year, the violence triggered an escalation of war with militias in the Gaza Strip.
The security cabinet is expected to ramp up preventative measures following strong criticism from the opposition and the general population.
An additional 1,000 troops are to be deployed in different parts of the country and in the occupied West Bank, defense minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday.
The first two of this week’s attacks were claimed by the Islamic State terror organization, something almost unprecedented in the country, triggering a series of raids in Arab cities and the arrest of 12 people.
Although a West Bank Palestinian was behind Tuesday’s attack, the fact that he managed to reach central Israel with an assault rifle set off alarm bells among security forces about possible accomplices.
Shortly after last night’s attack, the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the incident, saying it “only leads to a further deterioration of the situation.”
Israeli forces have arrested five men in the West Bank after the most recent attack, the Israeli defense forces confirmed Wednesday.
“Following the attack, IDF soldiers and Israeli security forces apprehended 5 individuals suspected of being involved in the killings,” the IDF wrote on Twitter.
“We will continue our counter-terrorism activities,” it added.
Hamas, the Islamist group that governs Gaza, hailed the shooting as “an act of heroism” and “a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation against our people.” EFE