Jerusalem truck attack: Netanyahu suspects Palestinian driver 'supported IS'

Jerusalem truck attack: Netanyahu suspects Palestinian driver 'supported IS'
2 min read
09 January, 2017
Nine people have been arrested over Sunday's deadly truck attack in Jerusalem, including five relatives of the Palestinian driver, who Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu believes was a supporter of IS.
Israeli officials have ordered the Palestinian truck driver's home to be demolished [Getty]

Israeli officials have arrested nine suspects and reportedly ordered the demolition of the family home of the Palestinian man who carried out a deadly truck attack in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Speaking at the scene, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the driver, identified by Palestinian media as Fadi Ahmad Hamdan al-Qunbar, was "according to all the signs a supporter of the Islamic State" - although no details were provided on what led to the finding.

Netanyahu said there "definitely could be a connection" between the attack, which killed four Israeli soldiers, and other truck attacks in France and Germany.

Qunbar, 28, was killed by Israeli forces and armed civilians after he drove a truck into a group of soldiers in the illegal settlement of East Talpiyyot, killing four soldiers - three women and a man - and wounding 17 others.

Israeli forces raided the Palestinian's home, as well as his brothers' and parents' houses, holding the family members for more than three hours, Qunbar's sister Shadia told Ma'an news agency.

She also expressed surprise at the actions of her brother, a father of four, Ma'an reported.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri confirmed in a statement on Sunday evening that Israeli forces had raided Qunbar's home and detained nine suspects, including five of his relatives.

Israeli police would remain heavily deployed in the now-blockaded Jabal al-Mukabbir neighbourhood, where Qunbar lived, "until further notice", Samri added.

Meanwhile, The Jerusalem Post has reported that the Israeli Security Cabinet had convened in the wake of the attack and decided to withhold his body, reject family reunification requests of some of his relatives in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and carry out a punitive demolition of Qunbar's home as soon as possible.

It added the cabinet also approved detaining suspected IS supporters without trial.

While Israel claims that a Palestinian campaign of incitement is fuelling violence, Palestinians say it is rooted in frustration stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli military occupation and lack of progress in peace efforts.

Agencies contributed to this report.