Site of terror attack in Halamish, July 2017.
(photo credit: IDF)
It took only 15 minutes from the moment Omar Al-Abed jumped the fence of the West Bank settlement of Halamish on Friday to the moment he was neutralized by an off-duty soldier, IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said on Saturday.
“It was a horrific, murderous, attack. The house was full of blood,” said Manelis, who added that the photographs showing the aftermath of the deadly terror attack in Halamish don’t show the entire picture.
Manelis, who visited Saturday the house that became a horrific scene of bloodshed along with IDf Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said that terrorist Ombar al-Abed (19) admitted to carrying out the attack because of the recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount
“He decided in the last two days that he wanted to carry out an attack,” Manelis said, adding that while it seems that he carried it out alone, security forces are still looking to see if he has any accomplices. The terrorist’s brother was arrested on Saturday in order to understand whether there is anyone else who knew of al-Abed’s intentions.
According to Manelis, al-Abed published a Facebook post where stated that he was expecting to die just before he left his West Bank village to carry out the attack in Halamish. Carrying a backpack with a Quran, wallet and bottle of water, al-Abed jumped the fence and arrived at the family’s home which was close to the entrance of the settlement.
When he arrived he is believed to have purified himself with the bottle of water before stabbing to death a grandfather and his two adult children.
Manelis confirmed that the warning system of an infiltration into the settlement sounded when al-Abed jumped the fence and that security forces are now investigating how he was able to carry out the attack.
There is also a broader effort in place to prevent further deterioration of the situation on the ground, which Manelis said is seeing a worsening trend of increased support for attacks amongst Palestinians.
“There is more and more support for violence as days go on and more potential attackers," Manelis continued, stressing that there is a new aspect that hasn’t been seen in other attacks since the wave of violence broke out two years ago.
IDF forces in action following deadly attack in Halamish, July 22, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)
“What is different now is that there is more of a focus on religion, especially in the last few days, which before we didn’t see. And having a focus on religion makes it more dangerous because it has more support in the Arab world,” he said.
“There is more consensus and support for this attack amongst Palestinians and more legitimization on the streets,” he continued, adding that “there is a dangerous dynamic now and we are working to make sure that there is not another attack like last night.”
Following the attack on Friday evening, Eisenkot held an emergency meeting of top army brass to discuss the situation and it was decided that the IDF would send additional troops to the West Bank to reinforce forces already there in addition to 5 extra battalions placed on alert Thursday.
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