Israeli security forces were out in force Saturday in the West Bank village of Deir Abu-Mashal, near Ramallah, home of the three terrorists who carried out the stabbing and shooting attacks near Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday.
Officials said army troops temporarily sealed off the village, then raided the men’s homes, where they searched for weaponry, confiscated various documents and questioned family members over the attack.
Soldiers also mapped the homes of the three men in preparation for the likely demolition of the houses, a common Israeli response to attacks.
One person was arrested on suspicion of involvement with the attack.
The army said a riot broke out as forces conducted their operations, with around 200 Palestinians hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers and burning tires as they attempted to block entrances to the village.
The IDF said soldiers responded with mainly non-lethal weapons, and in several specific cases used live fire at the lower bodies of key instigators.
No soldiers were injured during the violent demonstrations.
The three who carried out the terror attack had apparently been planning it for at least two months, Army Radio reported Saturday.
According to the report, one of the killers, Asama Ahmed Atta, 19, posted a tweet on April 13 in which he said: “We are all temporary. The world is not ours. We just walk in it and leave everything behind. God, assign our lives some good for which we shall meet you.”
The other two attackers, Adel Ankush, 18, Bra’a Salah, 19, responded with “Amen” and “God, Amen,” the radio said, adding that the post seems to indicate their desire to die in an attack.
The Shin Bet said all three had in the past been arrested for or involved in “popular terror activity.”
The military said the operations in Deir Abu-Mashal were not intended as collective punishment, and were carried out for operational and security reasons.
Officials noted that attacks originating from a certain village have often been followed by another attack from that same village, in revenge for the killing of the assailants. The army’s actions were intended to stave off such an eventuality, they said.
A Facebook page run by members of the village posted a photo of the three assailants on Friday night, praising them: “Glory and immortality to our righteous martyrs.” It also carried various messages of support which page administrators claimed came from nearby villages.
Earlier Saturday Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged the Security Council to denounce the attack.
“The payments made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families encourage heinous attacks like we saw today,” Dannon said of the attack, in which Border Police officer Hadas Malka was killed and four others injured.
“I call on the Security Council to condemn this terror attack immediately.”
Friday’s attack saw three Palestinians armed with an automatic weapon and knives carry out near simultaneous assaults at two adjacent locations before they were shot and killed.
First, two assailants charged Border Police troops with a homemade sub-machine gun and knives at Zedakiah’s Cave in the Muslim Quarter. They were shot and killed by officers.
Staff Sergeant Malka, 23, was part of a group of officers responding to the sounds of gunfire near their area of patrol close to Damascus Gate. While on their way, Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Malka was assaulted by a third attacker armed with a knife. Samri said Malka wrestled with the man for several seconds and tried to draw her weapon as he stabbed her multiple times before other officers saw what was happening and opened fire, killing him. Malka was critically injured and later died of her wounds in hospital.
At least four more people were injured in the attacks, including another policeman. They all sustained light to moderate wounds and were being treated in hospital.
In a first, the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack. “Thank God we have managed to carry out an attack in the heart of Jerusalem,” the group said in a statement. It said its “lions” had managed to “exact revenge” on the Israelis. “With God’s help this will not be the last attack,” it said.
Hamas dismissed the statement, and said all three assailants were members of Palestinian terrorist organizations. The attack was carried out by “two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas,” Hamas said early Saturday.
Israeli officials cast doubt on both claims, saying there was no indication of IS involvement, and that the attack did not appear to have been directed by any group.
Following the attack Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revoked the entry permits given to Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to visit their relatives in Israel.
Israel had eased restrictions on the entrance of Palestinians from the West Bank for Ramadan, including permitting daily family visits during Sundays through Thursdays.