In his first comment on Tuesday’s terror attack in Har Adar, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israelis bowed their heads at the loss of the three security officers who were murdered by an Arab terrorist earlier in the day.
“I send my condolences to all the families whose members were murdered by this horrible creature. The attack is still under investigation. We will be demolishing the home of the terrorist, and removing entry permits for all members of his family. I expect Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to condemn this attack,” Netanyahu added, speaking before a Cabinet meeting Tuesday morning.
The fact that the terrorist, Mahmoud Ahmad Gamal, was 37 years old and a father of four — significantly veering from the profile of terrorists, who are usually young, single and fervently Muslim — and the fact that Gamal had an Israeli work permit could portend for the future, Netanyahu said.
“We must determine if this attack is exceptional, or signifies a new type of attack for which we must be ready,” the prime minister added.
According to security officials, only one other holder of an Israeli work permit — Riad Khalil (al-Masalmah), the terrorist who killed two Israelis at the Beit Panorama office building in Tel Aviv in 2015 — has been involved in a terror attack; all other Palestinian Authority Arabs who carried out attacks had been in Israel illegally.
Speaking earlier, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the attack threw into question the utility of the work-permit system. “In an era when attacks are based on ideology and incitement in social media, it is not always clear where the next attack will come from,” Erdan told reporters. “We need to reconsider our approach to these permits.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman blamed the attack on incitement by the Palestinian Authority. “Before we talk about negotiations, the world must demand that the PA halt its incitement and support of terror. The PA continues to incite for the murders of Jews and to praise murderers, as is clear from the atmosphere in the electronic media and social media, where there are many calls for attacks on Israeli citizens.”
President Reuven Rivlin said, in a statement, that Israelis had experienced “a difficult morning. Our hearts are with the families of the victims, and we pray for the restored health of the injured. This horrible attack once again emphasizes the daily struggle we face and the important mission of our security forces — the defense and protection of Israeli citizens. We will continue to lash out against terror, and we will catch up with all those who carry it out and promote it.”