Palestinians greeted with cheers and shouts of “martyr” the body of the terrorist who ran down three IDF soldiers near Dolev in the Shomron, Tuesday night. The body was returned to the family in the Kalandiya area of Yerushalayim. The family allegedly plans to hold a mass funeral Wednesday.
Three soldiers were injured in the attack, and one remained in critical condition on Wednesday morning. The terrorist rammed his car into a group of soldiers at a checkpoint, injuring the three soldiers before being shot dead.
Several months ago the IDF instituted a policy whereby it would no longer return bodies of terrorists to their families if there was a suspicion that the funeral of the terrorist would turn into a major rally advocating terrorism, as has been customary among Palestinians. Nevertheless, on Tuesday night, the government confirmed that it was returning the body of the terrorist who had been killed earlier in the evening.
Speaking on Army Radio Wednesday, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said that the government had gone “too far this time. The body was returned just a few weeks after the government announced that it would no longer do so. Netanyahu’s behavior not only makes fun of the public, but endangers Israelis by encouraging other potential terrorists to carry out attacks. It is time for Netanyahu to step aside.”
However, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu had authorized the Defense and Internal Security Ministers to allow the return of terrorists’ bodies as long as certain conditions – such as no mass funerals – were met by the Palestinians.
Defense officials said that the attack, one of a series of attempted terror attacks that have taken place over the past few weeks, does not constitute an uptick in terrorism. Before Pesach, nearly a month had gone by without a terror attack, but defense officials said that they had not declared the terror wave at an end at that time, and had warned that more attacks were likely.
“Despite the recent attacks we still see that our recent activity in the field is having an effect. The steps we have taken, including demolition of houses, mass arrests, and intelligence efforts to unveil terror conspiracies have all had an effect,” officials were quoted by Israel Radio as saying.