The Palestinian Authority’s police force praised an officer who carried out a shooting attack that wounded three Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint near Beit El on Sunday.
“With great pride, the members of the Palestinian police eulogize the brave martyrdom of their colleague, Master Sergeant Amjad Sukkari, ‘Abu Omar’, who committed the operation at V.I.P checkpoint in Beit El,” said the police force in a statement. The Jerusalem Post reported about the statement on Monday.
An officer from the Palestinian National Security Forces in Gaza also praised Sukkari in a video, saying “al-Aksa is waiting for the revenge of the Palestinian Authority’s brave soldiers….the brave martyr, Amjad Sukkari, understood this and avenged Palestinian blood.”
Sukkari, 34, worked as a bodyguard and driver for the Palestinian attorney general. He emerged from his car at the checkpoint and shot at the soldiers with a handgun, before being fatally hit by return fire. One of his victims sustained a gunshot to his upper body and is in serious condition, the second is in moderate condition, and the third was slightly injured from a bullet wound to the hand. In a message posted to Facebook shortly before the shooting, Sukkari indicated that he intended to carry out an attack.
The attack is the second carried out by a member of the PA’s security forces since the latest wave of Palestinian terror began in September. Mazan Hasan Ariva, a PA intelligence officer, wounded a 47-year-old Israeli civilian and a 20-year-old soldier in a shooting in the West Bank two months ago. Ariva was a relative of chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, the hashtag “operation V.I.P” went viral on Palestinian social media following news of Sukkari’s shooting, with various photos and memes circulating on Facebook and Twitter.
Al-Quds, the largest Palestinian daily, featured a drawing of the “martyr” Sukkari as its daily comic on Sunday.
Following Sukkari’s attack, the Post reported that Israel placed a partial blockade around Ramallah, which is near Beit El. Residents could enter the city, but not leave, while non-residents could leave, but not enter. Exceptions were made on a humanitarian basis, and senior Palestinian officials could move in and out with permission from the Civil Administration, while Palestinians from eastern Jerusalem with Israeli residency who work in Ramallah could come and go freely. The partial closure was imposed after the IDF received concrete information about imminent attacks originating from the city, according to security sources. It was lifted several hours later.
[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90]