Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Shooting Attack in Israel

The Islamic State published a short statement claiming two fighters representing the “Islamic State in Palestine” carried out an attack resulting in the death of two police officers and the injury of others. The group identified “Ayman Ighbariya” and “Khaled Ighbariya” as the perpetrators of the attack.

“At least two members of the Jewish police were killed, and others were wounded, in a double attack by Islamic State fighters in northern Palestine,” the statement said.

Local news outlets reported two Israeli border police officers were killed, and several other officers were injured in a shootout with the attackers.

Additionally, one of the attackers was reportedly arrested by Turkish police in 2016 as he “tried to reach Syria to join the Islamic State group.”

Prior to the assault, a video was uploaded to Facebook where the two jihadists swore bayat (oath of allegiance) to the Islamic State and its new leader, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi.

The Islamic State’s claim was published by the organization’s Amaq News Agency. Citing “military sources,” Amaq reported that two jihadists of the Islamic State succeeded in reaching Herbert Samuel Street in Hadera, Israel and started shooting at a force of “Jewish police.”

The statement also noted the strike came days after an Islamic State-inspired terrorist, Abu al-Qia’an, launched an “operation” in Be’er Sheba that resulted in the death of four Israeli civilians. The claim refers to Qia’an as an inghamasi (suicide commando) suggesting he may have also been a member of the Islamic State, although Israeli security officials believe he was a lone-wolf.

The attack in Hadera represents one of the few achievements by the Islamic State in Israel. In 2017, a Palestinian cell representing the Islamic State launched an offensive in Jerusalem’s Old City. Armed with knives and guns they killed one female border patrol officer and wounded several others before being shot dead by Israeli security forces.

While there is no formalized structure for an Islamic State in Palestine, the attacks in Be’er Sheba and Hadera are examples of supporters maintaining localized cells with or without the direction of the Islamic State. Both assaults demonstrate a rare failure by the Israeli security services to thwart strikes by the extensive network of jihadists from various Palestinian factions and Salafist organizations inside Israel and on its borders.

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian militant organizations have published statements lauding the Hadera shooting despite the attackers’ affiliation with the Islamic State.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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