Funerals Begin for Victims of Bnei Brak Terror Attack That Left 5 Dead
Funerals began on Wednesday for the five victims of the previous night’s terror attack in the central Israel city of Bnei Brak. Avishai Yehezkel, 29, was walking his 2-year-old son in his stroller to give his pregnant wife a break on Tuesday evening when the 27-year-old assailant from near Jenin in the West Bank illegally in Israel opened fire with a rifle. Mourners at his funeral on Wednesday morning called him a hero for shielding his son with his body to protect him from the bullets. Father of five, Yaakov Shalom, 36, was also set to be buried on Wednesday. The funeral for the Israeli Arab police officer who shot and killed the Palestinian shooter before succumbing to his bullets, Amir Khouri, will take place on Thursday. The two other dead in the attack are two workers from Ukraine, Victor Sorokopot, 38, and Dimitri Mitrik, 23. The Israel Police has been put on its highest alert level, and the Israel Defense Forces have sent more troops to the West Bank. It is the third attack on Israeli citizens by Arab assailants in a week, with the total death toll at 11. The Bnei Brak attacker previously spent time in an Israeli jail for dealing in illegal firearms and affiliation with a terrorist group. At least 20 people, including some of his relatives, were arrested in his home village late on Tuesday night, leading to clashes between Israeli security forces and local residents. In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: “We face a challenging period. We have experience in dealing with terrorism, from the very beginning of Zionism. They did not break us then and they will not break us now.” He added: “The security forces of the State of Israel are the best in the world. They are up to the task and, as in the previous waves, we will prevail this time as well.” Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, and called for a “true, lasting peace.” Israeli news reports say Abbas was pressured by Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz to issue the condemnation. The attack was also condemned by countries including Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and European countries. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, currently in the region, condemned the attack, as did US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.