The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Monthly Summary of Events – July 2017
During the month of July, terrorist attacks and attempted attacks continued against security forces and civilians throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem. In two significant attacks, the first on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the second in the community of Halamish, five civilians and police officers were killed. In the shooting attack that took place near Lions’ Gate on the Temple Mount on Friday, July 14, 2017, two police officers were killed and another person was injured. Towards 7:00am, three terrorists opened fire on the two police officers in the area of Lions’ Gate. The three terrorists, residents of the city Umm al-Fahm, carried out the first attack inside the Temple Mount area and then began to flee in the direction of the mosques in order to seek refuge there. Other police forces who were present at the location started in pursuit of the terrorists. During the exchange of fire, the three terrorists were killed. The two Border Police officers, Sgt. Major Haiel Stawi, a resident of M’rar, and Sgt. Major Kamil Shnaan, a resident of Horpish, died from their injuries. A Carl-Gustav submachine gun, a pistol and knives were found on the terrorists’ bodies. The police investigation raises suspicions that the weapons were smuggled into the area a few days before the incident, apparently with the assistance of a Waqf member.
As a result of the attack, the Israel Police closed the Temple Mount compound to Muslim worshippers for the first time since 1969 and began searching for additional weapons throughout the compound, including in the Waqf offices. In addition, the Mufti of Jerusalem was arrested for questioning but released a few hours later. In addition, it was decided to erect metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount in order to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the compound in the future. Meanwhile, mourning tents were set up at the terrorists’ homes in Umm al-Fahm but they were dispersed. The installation of the new security arrangements at the entrance to the Temple Mount caused an escalation and triggered numerous riots in Jerusalem and the West Bank that included, among other things, stone throwing, Molotov cocktails and fireworks. The riots led to the deaths of five Palestinians during attempts to maintain order and most of the security measures near the Temple Mount were removed in order to calm the situation, which brought Muslim worshippers back to the site.
In the terrorist attack that took place in the community of Halamish in the West Bank on July 21, 2017, three civilians were killed after the terrorist, who infiltrated the community unhindered, broke into their house and stabbed them during the Sabbath meal. The terrorist was injured and arrested. Several soldiers and civilians were injured in additional attacks during the month, most of which took the form of rammings and stabbings.
During the month, the rocket fire from the Syrian civil war continued to trickle into the territory of the State of Israel in the Golan Heights area, and the IDF attacked the sources of the fire in response. In addition, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into the territory of the State of Israel but it fell on the Gaza side of the perimeter fence. Meanwhile, and as part of agreements with the Egyptian government, Hamas began to establish new security measures designed to prevent smuggling along the border between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.