Jerusalem: Hundreds of Israelis attended funerals today for four soldiers killed when a Palestinian rammed a truck into troops visiting a popular tourist site in a stark reminder of tensions despite a recent lull in violence.
Yesterday’s attack, which also saw the driver shot dead, came after months of relative calm and led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to spark debate by suggesting it was inspired by the Islamic State group.
Police arrested nine people and removed a memorial tent set up in the Palestinian’s east Jerusalem neighbourhood, located near the site of the incident.
Five of the nine arrested were relatives of the attacker, 28-year-old Fadi al-Qunbar, police said.
His cousin said he was religious like other members of the family, but dismissed Netanyahu’s statement that Qunbar was an IS supporter.
“There was nothing in his life saying he was ISIS,” Mohammad al-Qunbar, 43, said as he sat near what was left of the tent in the Jabal Mukaber neighbourhood.
“He never contacted ISIS and he doesn’t know ISIS,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the jihadist group.
He added: “We were shocked, for sure. We never expected anything like this from Fadi. But what happened has happened and we only say there is no might and power but that of God.”
Israeli ministers decided Sunday to take a series of actions, including demolishing Qunbar’s home and withholding his body, local media reported.
They also decided to hold without charge under a policy known as administrative detention those who publicly support IS, according to an Israeli official.