Israeli forces seal off home of Jerusalem attacker's family as Netanyahu govt escalates punitive measures

Israeli forces seal off home of Jerusalem attacker's family as Netanyahu govt escalates punitive measures
Israeli police sealed the home of the Palestinian man who killed seven Israelis Friday evening in an East Jerusalem settlement.
3 min read
This weekend has witnessed some of the deadliest violence in years in Occupied Palestinian Territories [Getty]

Israeli police on Sunday sealed up the family home of a Palestinian attacker who killed seven people and wounded three outside a synagogue, one of several punitive measures approved by Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet overnight.

Israeli police on Sunday released footage of army engineers welding metal plates over the windows and welding the front door shut as part of the operation in response to Friday night's deadly shooting, referring to the Palestinian man as a "terrorist."

The move came following a deadly weekend in which seven people were killed and five others wounded in two separate shootings in Jerusalem, in one of the bloodiest months in Occupied Palestinian Territories in several years. The measures threatened to further raise tensions and cast a cloud over a visit next week by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Police said the attacker, identified as a 21-year-old occupied East Jerusalem resident Khairy Alqam, was killed in a shootout with officers after fleeing the scene in the illegal settlement of Neve Yaakov.

Khairy Alqam was named after his grandfather who was killed by an Israeli settler, Chaim Fellerman, over 20 years ago, Palestinian media revealed. Fellerman killed four other Palestinians and wounded several more in a series of stabbing attacks in 1998 and 1999.

The shooting in Neve Yaakov came in retaliation to a deadly Israeli raid in the West Bank on Thursday that killed at least 10 Palestinians, nine of them in the Jenin refugee camp.

Israeli forces detained Alqam's mother and on Saturday extended her detention until Wednesday.

On Saturday, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded two Israelis, including an officer, also in East Jerusalem. The boy was reportedly shot and hospitalised. 

Israel has killed 32 Palestinians this month alone. The UN said 2022 marked the deadliest year for Palestinians since at least 2005, as Israeli forces have carried out near-daily raids on towns and villages in the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s Cabinet said it also plans a series of other punitive measures, including canceling social security benefits for the families of attackers, and would take steps to "strengthen the settlements" this week as part of the government's response to the weekend's attacks.

Rights groups have long criticised Israel for carrying out collective punishment in the aftermath of attacks by targeting the families of suspected attackers.

Blinken is expected to arrive on Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.