TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night said a “human animal with abhorrent hatred” murdered three Israeli family members from the West Bank Halamish community on Friday night.
He also expressed “deep sorrow” for the family of the victims.
“This was an act of terror perpetrated by a human animal, infused with abhorrent hatred,” the prime minister said in a statement about 19-year-old Omar al-Abed.
Abed climbed a fence into Halamish and broke into the home of the Salomon family as they ate Shabbat dinner. He stabbed four people at the table and killed three, including a grandfather and his son and daughter.
Abed told investigators that he wanted to avenge Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount.
At Sunday’s security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu considered alternatives to the metal detectors installed at entrances to the Temple Mount following a deadly terror attack at the holy site.
Earlier Saturday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited the Halamish settlement and said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must issue “a clear condemnation of the massacre committed yesterday against an innocent family that posed a danger to no one, a terrible slaughter carried out during the family’s Shabbat dinner.”
Abbas, who has given no response to the attack thus far, said on Sunday that he was suspending all security coordination with Israel.
The security measures at the Temple Mount came in response to a deadly terror attack on July 14 in which two Druze-Israeli police officers were shot and killed at the holy site. Nevertheless, Abbas claimed the installation of metal detectors was “falsely presented as a security measure” while in reality Israel wished “to take control of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Liberman reacted to Abbas latest statement, saying that Israel doesn’t need Palestinian cooperation over matters of security.
“We’ve managed for many years without security cooperation, we’ll manage now as well,” Liberman told Ynet news.
Palestinian leaders have urged Muslims to take to the streets and riot in protest over the newly installed metal detectors. Riots have erupted every day over the past week, with Palestinian media reporting that three Palestinians were killed in the clashes.
Netanyahu said the terrorist’s home, which was raided by the IDF on Saturday, would be demolished.The terrorist’s brother, Monir al-Abed, was also arrested. Their parents were said to have affiliations with the terror group Hamas, which hailed the attack as “heroic.”
Also overnight Friday in Avnei Hefetz, another West Bank settlement, Palestinians fired shots into a synagogue. No one was injured.
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, told BBC Arabic Saturday that Abbas’ claims were unfounded and that Israel has no intention of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount. He said the metal detectors were there to ensure that people do not smuggle weapons into the holy site.
During Sunday’s security cabinet meeting, several ministers called for the death penalty for Abed.
“The option of the death penalty exists in military courts,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said. “There is no need for legislation; just to ask. I call on the military prosecution to demand the death penalty for the terrorist that killed the Salomon family.”