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Israeli police destroy mourning tents set up for slain Palestinians in Umm al-Fahm

July 15, 2017 6:21 P.M. (Updated: July 15, 2017 7:01 P.M.)
sraeli police special forces patrol a street in Jabal al-Mukabbir, a Palestinian neighbourhood of East Jerusalem on September 18, 2015 (AFP/Thomas Coex, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hours after a deadly shooting attack in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem that left three Palestinian assailants and two Israeli police officers dead, Israeli forces destroyed mourning tents that had been set up in the village of the slain Palestinian attackers.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that “upon instructions from high-profile members of the political echelon,” Israeli police on Friday night raided the Palestinian-majority town of Umm al-Fahm, located in northern Israel.

During the raid, police took down the tents, which al-Samri said “were erected in front of homes of the three terrorists who carried out the attack.”

“I also confirm that police and security forces continue with all procedures of investigation related to the terrorist attack, going after everyone who incites violence and terrorism or attempts to carry out or be involved in any such attacks," al-Samri’s statement concluded.

Israeli news website Ynet reported that a large police force dispersed the crowd gathered at the mourners' tents, raided the attackers’ family homes, and demanded that neighborhood residents stay indoors. Hundreds of police personnel were dispatched throughout the city, Ynet said.

The three slain Palestinians, who were identified on Friday as Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19; and Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19, all lived within two blocks of each other, according to Ynet.

Ynet quoted a relative of one of the slain Palestinians as saying that "We're still in shock. If we would have known, we would have immediately stopped them...We're against such acts. This shooting helps with nothing but destroys everything. Now everyone will attack us.”

Directives issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that the tents be taken down also ordered to “significantly strengthen the security arrangements at the access point to the Temple Mount,” using the Israeli term for the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which remained closed off for the second day on Saturday, as Netanyahu rejected international calls to immediately open the holy site.

According to Israeli media, the last time the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound was closed off to Muslims was in 2014, when far-right Jewish activist Yehuda Glick -- now a member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset -- was shot in the area.

In the wake of Friday's attack, Israeli forces also detained dozens of worshippers and Waqf employees, and restricted Palestinians from accessing the site for Friday prayers for the first time since 1967, according to Palestinian leaders.

A Palestinian activist was detained from his East Jerusalem home and then put on house arrest following a televised interview he gave after the attack, which locals told Ma’an said was deemed as “incitement” by Israeli officials.

Israeli officials have long been criticized for enforcing policies of “collective punishment” in the wake of such attacks, where Palestinians are subjected to mass raids, detentions over incitement, road closures and restriction of movement.

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