Israel’s security services last month recorded 222 terrorist attacks against Israelis, the highest number in any month since December 2015.
The attacks resulted in the killing of five Israelis, two soldiers and three civilians, and the wounding of seven, according to the Israel Security Agency’s monthly report on July, published earlier this week. Several Palestinians also died, some while perpetrating attacks and other during clashes with security forces.
The tally for July was more than double the 94 attacks recorded in June and nearly double the average of 121 attacks per month from January 2016 onward. The Israel Security Agency recorded a total of 2,314 attacks during that period, in which 33 victims died and 223 were wounded. Last month was among the deadliest in that period in terms of terrorist attack fatalities, second only to November 2015 when terrorists murdered 10 Israelis.
The surge in attacks in July owed largely to tensions and clashes connected to the Temple Mount. In July, three Arab-Israeli terrorists killed two police officers before being shot dead themselves. Israel placed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount, a compound which is holy both to Jews and to Muslims. Riots ensued, leading Israel to dismantle the metal detectors two weeks after placing them.
On Thursday, an Israeli court indicted the alleged perpetrator of the bloodiest attack carried out in July, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, a Palestinian from the Ramallah area. He is accused of murdering three Israelis in the West bank settlement of Halamish. According to the indictment, he confessed to the crime, telling investigators he chose the family he targeted after hearing laughter coming from their living room on Friday night, where they were having dinner.
On July 18, al-Abed reportedly told a Gaza woman that he was in contact with on Whataspp about his intentions to carry out a stabbing attack, allegedly writing that “we must wage jihad for the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”