Thursday, April 28, 2016

28-Apr-16: Terror-by-knifing attack foiled at Qalandiya; assailant, again, is a child

The attackers came equipped with these stabbing
implements - two identical kitchen knives
and a switchblade found on the body of the young male
[Image Source: Israel Police]
A violent attack at the Qalandiya security checkpoint yesterday (Wednesday) on Jerusalem's north side has cost a pair of Palestinian Arabs, a young married woman and her teenage brother, their lives.

Times of Israel reports that, while no Israelis from among the security personnel attacked suffered any injuries, the two assailants, armed with knives, were killed after attempting to attack the heavily-armed Israelis.

The attackers are identified as Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, a woman of 23, and her brother Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16. Both are said to be from Surif, an Arab community located south of Jerusalem and north of Hebron. Ma'an News Agency says the woman is the mother of two children and pregnant with a third.

Surif is familiar to Israelis with a sense of history. It is home to most of the Arab mob who carried out a total massacre of the convoy of Jews (among them Frimet Roth's cousin Eliyahu Herskowitz ז"ל) known as the Lamed Heh. Its 35 members had set out on foot in January 1948 with the goal of relieving the Arab siege on the Gush Etzion communities. Those beleagured communities, numerically overwhelmed by the surrounding enemies, eventually fell to the invading the Arab Legion, the military arm of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on Friday May 14, 1948, some hours before Israel’s independence was declared in Tel Aviv. They remained, judenrein, under Jordanian military occupation for the next 19 years. The massacre and then capture of the Gush was "one of the major episodes of the State of Israel-in-the-making", playing a significant role in Israeli collective memory. Wikipedia reminds us that the post-1967 revival and massive flourishing of the Gush Etzion communities is regarded as deeply symbolic, linked in the Israeli psyche to the massive loss of life in Israel's War of Independence.

Ynet's report of yesterday's terrorist attack says the Arab couple
attempted to walk through a passage intended for vehicle entry and began speeding up in the direction of Border policemen stationed at the scene. The female assailant had her hand in her bag in which there was a knife. The male assailant's hand was held behind his back which aroused the security forces suspicion. The police called upon them to stop several times. However they continued to quickly approach in their direction. The police continued to call upon them to stop and throw down the bag the woman was holding. The woman stopped close to the Border policemen, both of them took several steps backwards and then suddenly they turned towards the forces, the woman took out a knife and threw it straight at the policeman closest to her. The policeman was not injured. The security forces acted quickly and shot them dead. A search of the area revealed that in addition to the woman's knife, the male had a similar knife in his belt, as well as a pocket knife.
As always, there's an air of Rashomon ("alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident" embodying "multiple eye-witness testimonies of an event contain conflicting information") already evident in parts of the media.

Arabic-language audiences are getting a sadly-familiar-sounding narrative at considerable odds with the Israel Police and media accounts. An Iranian news source calls yesterday's thwarted terror attack a "massacre". A Gazan source refers to a "child martyr", and martyr-posters are, not surprisingly, online [here] already. Al Safir, a Palestinian Arab news outlet, calls what happened an "execution". So does this Gulf news source. For Aljazeera, it's about the woman's orphaned children, and the death of a younger brother. As far as we can tell, none of those Arabic reports shows the knives that were removed from the clutches of the attackers.

As usual, the events we see as terrorism are described by the Arab and Muslim media to Arab news consumers context-free form, devoid of connection to the ongoing wave of knifings, rammings, shootings, bombings. Forgotten for the moment are the multiple public acts of glorification of women, sub-teen and teenage children enjoying the acclaim of Arabs and Moslems from across the spectrum - and at the highest levels of Palestinian Arab power - for the violence of their usually-pointless murderous assaults on Jews. It's an ongoing tragedy for all concerned.

Haaretz says
Hassan Tahah, another sibling, told Haaretz that he doesn't believe his sister was planning to carry out an attack. "We have no details about what transpired and no one briefed us, but I don't believe this whole terrorist attack story," he said. According to him, his sister was on her way to a doctor's appointment, accompanied by his brother. "She was probably lost, or didn't understand what was going on at the roadblock, and the soldiers shot her and my brother," he said.
We wrote about another terror-minded sixteen year-old from Surif with a knife in the wake of an earlier attack ["23-Oct-15: Scenes from a stabbing/ramming/shooting war of terror"] some months ago. And for a sense of some of the numerous recent Arab-on-Israeli attacks at Qalandiya, click here.

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