Three killed in Jerusalem terror attack as hostage releases continue via BICom
Jerusalem terror attack: Three people were killed, including a 24-year-old woman, a 60-year-old woman, and a 73-year-old man in a deadly shooting attack this morning at a bus stop at the entrance to Jerusalem. Six further people were injured, two of whom are in serious condition.
- One of the victims was named by both Israeli chief rabbis as Ashdod rabbinical judge Elimelech Wasserman.
- Two terrorists, one with an M-16, the second a handgun, opened fire towards civilians at the bus station. Both were swiftly killed by security forces and an armed civilian who were close by, preventing further victims.
- The attackers were named as brothers Murad Namr, 38, and Ibrahim Namr, 30, from East Jerusalem. According to the Shin Bet, both were Hamas members and previously jailed for terror activity. Murad was in prison from 2010 to 2020 for planning terror attacks and Ibrahim was jailed in 2014 for undisclosed terror activity.
- CCTV footage (here) captured the terrorists arrived by car from East Jerusalem and police are checking the area to see if anyone else was involved. Searches of the terrorists’ vehicle revealed large amounts of ammunition.
- Minister Gantz said: “this terror attack is further proof of our obligation to continue to fight with strength and determination against murderous terrorism, which threatens our citizens. In Jerusalem, Gaza, in Judea and Samaria, and everywhere.”
Pause in fighting extended again: The truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza was set to expire at 7am this morning, but was extended by a day when an updated list of hostages set to be freed today was accepted by Israel.
- It reportedly comprised only eight hostages — six women and two children. Other reports suggest that three bodies of Israeli abductees will also be returned.
- An initial list given by Hamas including seven women and children, as well as three bodies, was rejected by Israel rejected as insufficient.
- An IDF statement said that “in light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the hostages and subject to the terms of the agreement, the ceasefire will continue.”
- Sixteen people were released by Hamas on Wednesday night. These included 12 Israelis — five of them teens — and four Thais. Two Israeli-Russian women were released as a “gesture” to Russian President Putin.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel last night for his third visit since Hamas’s October 7 attack.
- Blinken is also expected to visit the West Bank and the United Arab Emirates, according to a State Department statement on Monday. Washington is pushing to allow further humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip and to secure the release of all the hostages being held captive by Hamas.
- Israeli troops killed two senior terror operatives in the Jenin refugee camp yesterday. Muhammad Zubeidi was a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in the Jenin camp while Hussam Hanoun was a local operative. The Shin Bet said that Zubeida had been involved in a terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Hermesh in which an Israeli, Meir Tamari, was killed.
Context: The police will be concerned that with the release of over 200 Palestinian prisoners, including unrepentant terrorists, there could come an increase of terror attacks.
- The same bus stop was the scene of a devastating terror attack almost exactly a year ago.
- CIA chief Bill Burns and head of the Mossad David Barnea have held meetings with senior officials in Qatar to expand the pool of hostages eligible for release in conjunction with further extending the pause.
- The number of hostages freed over the last week is 97 — 73 Israelis and 24 foreign nationals, mostly Thai agricultural workers. The IDF estimates 159 hostages remain in Gaza, including baby Kfir and toddler Ariel Bibas, 10-months and 4-years-old, as well as siblings Aisha and Bilal Ziyadne.
- On Wednesday Hamas said that Kfir, Ariel and their mother Shiri, had been killed, a claim that the IDF is currently investigating.
- Further details have emerged of the violent treatment to which some of the hostages have been subjected by their captors. “I was with Israelis, and there were guards all the time. The Jews who were with me were treated more harshly. Sometimes they were beaten with electrical cables,” said a recently released Thai worker.
- The Israeli Defence Ministry this morning announced that the total number of military and security personnel injured since the beginning of the war stands at 2,005. 287 are currently hospitalsied, 28 in serious condition.
- Since October 7, Israeli troops have arrested approximately 2,000 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,100 affiliated with Hamas. The Palestinian Authority health ministry has said that around 200 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, most of them armed men involved in clashes with the IDF.
Looking ahead: The extension to the pause in fighting will last through the day.
- Israel continues to emphasise that the war will continue. At a meeting with communities from the Gaza envelope yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We saw that the ground maneuver and the diplomatic pressure were yielding us the outcome [we wanted], but we won’t concede the objective of destroying them…We’ve got a major struggle here. We won’t let it (the PA) return. We have a sacred duty to restore security. Everything is meaningless unless we restore security. We’ll destroy Hamas, and there won’t be any option for any other actor of that kind to rule Gaza. We’ll have security control in the Gaza Strip.”
- During a meeting with President Herzog, Blinken said he “looked forward to detailed conversations with the government of Israel about the way ahead in Gaza.” American pressure on Israel has been mounting with a senior American official telling Israeli officials: “You’ve displaced a million Gazans. How are you making sure you don’t kill them?”