Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until it removed new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site.
Palestinians have clashed with Israeli security forces outside the shrine for days and on Friday three were killed when fighting broke out as people protested against the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount compound that is holy to Muslims and Jews.
"I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at Al-Aksa mosque and preserves the status quo," Abbas said in a brief televised speech after meeting his aides, referring to a mosque forming part of the holy site.
Hours after the announcement, three Israelis were killed and one severely wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank town of Halamish on Friday evening.
The Israel Defense Forces reported that an assailant infiltrated a private home in the community of Halamish, also known as Neve Tsuf, north west of Ramallah, and stabbed four Israeli civilians. Three of the victims died as a result of their wounds, and one was evacuated to Shaare Tzedek hospital.
The assailant, whom Channel 2 identified as Palestinian, was shot by a neighbor. Palestinian media have identified the attacker as Omar al Abed, age 20, from the West Bank village of Khobar, near Ramallah. He left an online manifesto before the attack in which he stated that he felt obligated to act in light of recent events.