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Israel mourns 5 shot dead by Palestinian, PM warns of terror ‘wave’

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Israeli soldiers patrol on March 30, 2022 a village south of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, reportedly from where Palestinian assailant Diaa Hamarshah left before killing five people during a gun attack in Israel

Israelis on Wednesday mourned five people killed by a Palestinian gunman, the third deadly attack in a week, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned of a “wave of murderous Arab terrorism”.   

“The pain is great,” Bennett wrote on Twitter as several victims were laid to rest, police forces were placed on the highest alert and the army said it would deploy extra units in and around the West Bank. 

Armashah killed two Ukrainian men and two Israeli civilians before police confronted him, authorities said. An Arab-Israeli officer died in the ensuing gunfight that also killed the assailant.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas issued a rare condemnation, saying the killings “will only lead to further deterioration of the situation, while we are all striving for stability”.

Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Islamist Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip, however praised the “heroic operation” as “legitimate and moral valiant resistance to end the occupation”.

– ‘Heinous terrorist attack’ –

“He got married about a year and a half ago,” Numa told AFP. “He has a two-year-old son and his wife is eight months pregnant.”

Bennett tweeted a salute to Khoury, saying he “sacrificed himself heroically to save human lives, leaving behind a grieving and wounded family”.

Israel was home to around 15,000 Ukrainians before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. It has since received nearly 20,000 refugees from Ukraine, an interior ministry spokeswoman said.

Yehezkel and Shalom were buried Wednesday, while Khoury was set to be laid to rest in Nazareth on Thursday.

“Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism,” said Bennett, whose disparate coalition government ranges from Jewish nationalists to Arabs. 

On Sunday, two gunmen killed two Israeli police officers — identified as Shirel Aboukrat, a French-Israeli citizen, and Druze Israeli Yezen Falah — in the northern city of Hadera.

Israeli police said the two assailants were killed on the scene.

Sunday’s attack coincided with a landmark meeting between Israel’s foreign minister and those of four Arab countries with ties to the Jewish state, as well as Blinken.

The latest attack came as Defence Minister Benny Gantz visited Jordan’s King Abdullah II to discuss ways to ensure calm in the Palestinian territories during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Jordan serves as the custodian of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

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