IDF Troops on High Alert After Deadly Stabbings; Identities of Three Murdered Released

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in the Arab village of Kubar, home of Friday night’s terrorist. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

The IDF fortified its troops across Yehudah and Shomron and placed forces on high alert, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family on Friday night.

The three Israelis murdered in the terror attack Friday night in the Shomron town of Chalamish as they were finishing their Shabbos meal were named on Motzoei Shabbos as Yosef Salomon, Hy”d, age 70, his daughter Chaya Salomon, Hy”d, 46, and his son Elad Salomon, Hy”d, age 36.

The levayah of all three will take place Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in the Modiin cemetery.

Tova Salomon, 68, the wife of Yosef, was being treated for injuries sustained in the attack in Shaare Zedek Hospital in Yerushalayim. Yosef Salomon and Chaya Salomon were residents of Chalamish.

Elad Salomon, a father of five, was a resident of Elad. His wife and five children, who were in the house at the time of the attack, were safe, after they took refuge in a room in the house with their mother when an Arab invaded the Salomon home at about 10 p.m. and began stabbing his victims.

Itai Orayon, a medic, said he found “blood everywhere” in the house. He told Army Radio that three people were on the floor, unconscious, “with deep stab wounds all over their bodies,” and that the medical team was unfortunately unable to save them.

The terrorist was identified as Omar Abd al-Abed, a 19-year old resident of the Arab village of Kubar, located next to Chalamish. Al-Abed’s stabbing spree was halted when an off-duty IDF soldier who lived across the street rushed into the Salomon home after hearing screams coming from the house. He opened fire and hit al-Abed, injuring him moderately. Under questioning, al-Abed, who was carry a Koran with him, told interrogators that he had carried out the attack “because of Har HaBayis.” Security officers entered Kubar over Shabbos and arrested al-Abed’s brother on suspicion of assisting to carry out the attack.

Ibrahim al-Abed, an uncle of the terrorist, said his nephew had been arrested three months ago by security forces of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The uncle said his nephew had spent two weeks in detention and was violently interrogated about alleged plans to attack Israelis before he was released.

The terrorist wrote in a pre-attack social media post that he expected to be killed in the attack. He wrote that he wanted his body to be covered by a banner of the Islamic group Hamas.

In a statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “this terror attack was carried out by an animal in human form, who was incited by endless propaganda of hate. Security forces are doing everything possible to prevent these kinds of attacks.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who visited the site of the attack, said that “we demand that the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas condemn this attack clearly. The terrorist attacked an innocent family who posed no threat to anyone as they were eating their Shabbos dinner. We also expect the U.N. Secretary General, who was very quick to demand an investigation into the deaths of three Palestinians in riots Friday, to condemn this attack as well.”

Liberman also said the terrorist’s home would be demolished swiftly. The IDF said soldiers searched the house and measured it in preparation for demolition. Anticipating this, local residents said the family emptied the home of valuables.

Later, clashes erupted as residents burned tires and hurled rocks at Israeli troops who had searched the home. The military says about 50 people attacked troops who fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas.

On Friday evening, Abbas announced that he would “freeze” ties with Israel “on all levels” until the metal detectors are removed from Har HaBayis, but did not say whether this means halting security coordination. Ending such ties would have far-reaching repercussions and sharply raise tensions with Israel.

Yossi Kuperwasser, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said these were likely empty words since the cooperation is “most of all important for the Palestinians.”

Late Motzoei Shabbos, Channel Two reported that police would soon place an “alternative” to the detectors in an effort to lower tensions.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads the Israeli defense body for Palestinian civilian affairs, also said Israel was open to alternatives as long as it “ensures the prevention of the next attack.”