Thousands of Palestinians in Kabatiya, near Jenin, attended the funeral on Friday of three locals who carried out a terrorist attack in Jerusalem two days earlier.
The large turnout came despite the fact that Israeli security forces imposed a closure on Kabatiya, just hours after the attackers killed a Border Police officer and wounded another near the Damascus Gate to the capital’s Old City. The army lifted the closure late Saturday night/ Israeli authorities on Friday handed back the bodies of the three men.
Their corpses were given to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society; Israel reportedly conditioned the exchange on a pledge from the families not to use their funerals as a stage for a political rally and procession.
Hadar Cohen, a 19-year-old border policewoman, was killed and another female officer critically wounded in the attack by three Arab terrorists wielding machine guns, pipe bombs and knives.
All three assailants were shot dead at the scene. Their explosives did not detonate and were later neutralized by a police bomb disposal team.
The commander of the Border Police team that killed two of the attackers said he saw two of them shortly after 2 p.m. sitting on a bench wearing jackets, and that when he approached them they seemed to be uneasy.
He said he asked them for their identification cards, at which point one of them stood up, pulled a gun from his jacket and hit the officer over the head with the weapon.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman criticized the decision to hand over the corpses. He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks “with a sharp voice against Arab members of Knesset who visit the families of terrorists, yet immediately yields to their demand and returns terrorists’ bodies.
“Netanyahu’s words, as per usual, are devoid of content,” Liberman said. “Meanwhile, the graves of our murdered people are filling up quick.”
Three Joint List/Balad MKs – Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas – visited the families of 10 slain terrorists in Jerusalem last week.