The Islamic State is taking credit for a terror attack perpetrated by two Arab cousins in Israel over the weekend. Two Israeli police officers were killed and several other people were wounded.
We condemn today’s terrorist attack in Hadera, Israel. Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society. We stand with our Israeli partners and send our condolences to the families of the victims.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 27, 2022
The two Arab-Israeli terrorists had earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS before opening fire on a group of police officers and civilians in the city of Hadera late Sunday, police said.
Border Police Officers Yazan Fallah and Shirel Aboukaret, both 19, were killed during the attack, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The shooting began about 9 p.m. local time, according to police. The attackers waited for a bus to pass before picking up rifles and shooting at civilians and police.
According to authorities, undercover police officers from the Border Police’s Counterterrorism Unit were eating at a nearby restaurant when the shooting began and killed the two shooters.
Two Israeli men in their 20s were seriously injured by the gunfire while a 45-year-old man and an Israeli woman in her 20s each suffered light injuries. They were taken to Hillel Yafe Medical Center for treatment, according to the news report.
The terrorists were cousins from the Arab city of Umm el-Fahm in Israel, police said. Before the shooting, they posted a video on Facebook swearing allegiance to ISIS. Afterward, the media arm of ISIS released a statement taking credit for the shooting as well as deadly terror attack in Beersheba last week.
The terror attack was condemned by Israeli officials. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said:
“Tonight’s heinous terrorist attack is an attempt by violent extremists to intimidate and damage the fabric of life here.”
In a statement Sunday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz thanked security forces who stopped the terrorists and sent his condolences to the victims’ families:
“The IDF and all security forces are deployed and prepared with all means to restore calm and maintain the security of Israeli citizens everywhere and in every arena. We will act vigorously against terrorism and the terrorists, and we will promote the continued reinforcement of the forces on the ground.”
Part of what has been so dizzying about the series of terrorist attacks over the last week has been that they came from radically different sectors and do not fit into a conventional box that holds a clear answer of what to do next.
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) March 30, 2022
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in Israel for talks with the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, also condemned the attack:
“Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society. We stand with our Israeli partners and send our condolences to the families of the victims.”
An attack in Beersheba last week claimed the lives of four Israelis, in what was the deadliest terror assault on Israeli civilians since 2016. That terrorist attacker, who was killed, was also an ISIS supporter, police reported.
Terror alert: Commander of the U.S. Central Command says ISIS attacks will ramp up as the summer months approach
March 17, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Tuesday, March 15th, Fox News reported that General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), said that the Taliban is failing in their efforts to shut down ISIS in Afghanistan.
Commander of the United States Central Command, General Kenneth F. McKenzie, said that ISIS increases the level of its attacks across Afghanistan in coming months. pic.twitter.com/nKl9RorZmu
— khalilminawi (@khminawi) March 16, 2022
The CENTCOM commander also stated that due to this, it appears likely that as the summer months draw closer, ISIS terror attacks will increase.
While speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, McKenzie said that even though the Taliban has been “less firm” when it comes to opposing al Qaeda, they have demonstrated a commitment to taking on ISIS, even if it is not enough.
In response to a question from Sen. Angus King (I-ME), McKenzie said:
“The Taliban is attempting to maintain pressure on ISIS. They’re finding it difficult to do so.”
The commander noted that in recent months, ISIS has carried out “some high-profile attacks” in Afghanistan, including in the capital city of Kabul. He added:
“We’re coming out of the winter, traditionally this would now begin the fighting season. It is my expectation that ISIS attacks will ramp up in Afghanistan as we go into the summer.”
Iran has more than 3,000 ballistic missiles, many of which can reach Israel, according to head of US Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie. Additionally, #Iran’s missile force is the greatest threat to the region’s security. https://t.co/YvARDPnldT
— UANI (@UANI) March 16, 2022
While speaking to the Committee, McKenzie did not seem all that confident that the Taliban would stop al Qaeda from being active, saying that he believes “they’re much less firm on the al Qaeda issue as far as opposing them and being able to limit them.”
According to Fox News, the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and its former leader Osama bin Laden prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
After nearly 20-years of war that saw them temporarily removed from power, the Taliban swiftly re-gained control of Afghanistan in August of 2021 after the botched American troops withdrawal.
During the U.S. withdrawal, ISIS-K carried out a suicide bombing at an airport in Kabul, causing several casualties, including 13 U.S. service members.
According to a report from USNI News, the U.S. is gathering over-the-horizon intelligence on terrorist activities in Afghanistan, but has not made a strike against ISIS-K and al Qaeda. During his remarks with the Senate Armed Services Committee, McKenzie added that ISIS-K has been re-constituting itself.
He said that current intelligence estimates predict that within 12 to 18 months, the group might be able to attack targets outside Afghanistan.
While the security situation in parts of Afghanistan may have improved since the Taliban takeover in August of 2021, McKenzie said, “I’m not sure it’s a place you want to be.”
US Centcom commander, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie warned of surge in Daesh group attacks in coming spring in Afghanistan.
The Islamic Emirate has repeatedly denied the remarks of the US officials about Daesh activities in the country.#AFGTimes pic.twitter.com/aSBEaQ2L7q
— AfghanistanTimes (@AfghanistanTime) March 16, 2022
In addition to the ISIS-K attacks, the commander cited the Taliban’s continued reprisals against former Afghan government officials and the elimination of opportunities for women and for girls’ education.
The United States does not recognize the Taliban regime as Afghanistan’s government, however, McKenzie said, “there are levers we can apply” to change conditions there.
The Taliban wants international recognition as the legal government and McKenzie said that diplomacy and economic aid could sway its behavior.
According to reports, McKenzie’s comments come months after he had told the House Armed Services Committee in September 2021, that it is “yet to be seen” whether the U.S. can deny al Qaeda and ISIS the ability to use Afghanistan to launch its attacks. At the time he said:
“We could get to that point, but I do not yet have that level of confidence.”
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