Israeli police went on heightened alert Sunday following protests across the country over the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old Arab Israeli who had tried to attack police with a knife in the northern village of Kfar Kana.
Thousands of Arabs took to the streets over the weekend to protest the shooting, with many hurling rocks and firebombs at police. The protests continued Sunday with a general strike called by Arab Israeli community leaders and demonstrations outside universities and other institutions.
In video footage, the assailant, who had been hitting the side of a police cruiser with his knife-wielding fist, appeared to be backing off when three officers with guns drawn emerged from the vehicle. He was then seen being shot in the upper body and falling to the ground. The police then dragged him to the cruiser and took him to a hospital where he died.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police have beefed up security and raised preparedness to its second-highest level — the country’s highest since the conclusion of this summer’s Gaza war. The weekend protests included some marching with Palestinian flags and calling for an uprising.
At the weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned against further violence.
“Israel is a nation of law. Whoever violates the law will be punished severely. We will not tolerate disturbances and riots,” he said. “I have instructed the Interior Minister to use all means, including evaluating the possibility of revoking the citizenship of those who call for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
Netanyahu added, “We will not tolerate demonstrations in the heart of our cities in which the flags of Hamas and the Islamic State are waved, where there are calls for the redemption of Palestine with blood and fire, basically calling for the destruction of Israel.”
The police’s internal investigations department launched a probe into the incident, which had been prompted by police entry into the village to make an arrest.