Palestinians shot dead for Israeli police stabbing were not IS, says Hamas

Palestinians shot dead for Israeli police stabbing were not IS, says Hamas
Hamas has rebuffed the Islamic State group's claim that it was behind the fatal stabbing of an Israeli policewoman in Jerusalem.
2 min read
17 June, 2017
Hamas spokesman Sami Abou Zouhri challenged the IS claim [Anadolu]

Three Palestinians shot dead in Jerusalem after an Israeli policewoman was fatally stabbed were not Islamic State group members, Hamas said on Saturday.

The Gaza-based group said that the attackers belonged to local Islamist and leftist movements, rejecting an earlier claim by the IS group.

"The claim by the Islamic State group is an attempt to muddy the waters," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abou Zouhri. The attack was carried out by "two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas," he said.

The IS group claimed the attack earlier today in an online statement, saying that three IS militants had targeted "a gathering of Jews" in an operation on Friday.

The group warned that "this attack will not be the last".

The stabbing took place as Muslims marked the end of the third Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, during which tens of thousands of Palestinians from east Jerusalem and the West Bank attended prayers the nearby al-Aqsa mosque compound - Islam's third-holiest site.

It was during this time that Hadas Malka, a 23-year-old sergeant major, was critically injured by the attackers. She later died in hospital of her wounds. 

According to police, two of the assailants opened fire at a group of police officers who returned fire, and a third stabbed the policewoman.

The attack marks the first time that IS have claimed an attack inside Israel, the monitoring group SITE said.

In its statement IS said the attack was "revenge for the religion of Allah and the sanctities of the violated Muslims".

"Let the Jews watch for the demise of their state at the hands of the soldiers of the 'caliphate'," the statement added.

IS is not believed to have directed attacks in Israel, but bombings by militants connected to the group in other Arab countries have been common place.