Israeli Police Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, who was murdered
Friday in Jerusalem, is pictured with his newborn son, Ramos.
By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — July 16, 2017 … Three Islamic terrorists assassinated two Israeli border policeman at the entrance of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Israeli police Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe is seen above cradling his 3-week-old son, Ramos.
Sitawe, 30, of the Druze town of Maghar in northern Israel, also is survived by his wife, Irin, his parents and three brothers.
He served in the Israel Border Police (MAGAV) as part of his mandatory military service and joined the Israeli police force in 2012, serving in the unit responsible for securing Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. His mission was to provide security to people of all religions to pray freely in Jerusalem.
The other police officer who was murdered was 22-year-old Kamil Shnaan, from the Druze village of Hurfeish, also in northern Israel.
Shnaan, who joined the police right after high school, decided to stay on the force seven months ago, signing on as a career officer.
He was the youngest son of former Israeli Labor Party Knesset member Shachiv Shnaan.
The officer’s engagement party to his girlfriend was to be held next week.
Security camera footage showed the Islamic terrorists, armed with automatic weapons and knives, emerging to attack from within the sacred compound in the Old City of Jerusalem that Jews revere as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Police officers pursued the terrorists, who fled back inside the compound and exchanged fire; all three terrorists were killed.
Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, identified the terrorists as residents of Umm el-Fahm, a large Arab town in central Israel.
“Before the onset of Shabbat [Friday, 14 July 2017], I spoke with the parents of our two heroic policemen who were murdered on the Temple Mount. I sent them a hug from every citizen of Israel and participation in their awful grief. Also before Shabbat I directed that the mourners’ tents of the families of the contemptible murderers be destroyed. This evening I held a discussion with the top security leadership and I instructed that metal detectors be placed at the entrance gates to the Temple Mount.”
Netanyahu continued: “We will also install security cameras on poles outside the Temple Mount but which give almost complete control over what goes on there. I decided that as of tomorrow, in the framework of our policy of maintaining the status-quo, we will gradually open the Temple Mount, but with increased security measures.”
“This was a tough morning for the police. We have two people killed, officers, who paid the dearest price in this battle,” Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said.
Israeli officials offered support for the Druze religious sect community of Israel.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that the “Jewish people have an eternal bond with our brothers, the Druze.”
Netanyahu and Israeli security organizations decided to open the Temple Mount to worshippers, visitors and tourists on Sunday, but Palestinians demanded that they would not be subject to security checks. Israeli border police arrested those who were inciting riots near the Old City. The weapons which were used to murder the two Israeli policemen on Friday had been smuggled into the Temple Mount while there were no metal detectors.
Former Israel Defense Forces Gen. Noam Tibon wrote in a tweet that he “salutes Druze soldiers,” having seen their “great contribution to the defense of Israel during my long years in the IDF.
“I embrace the Shnaan and Sitawe families on the loss of their sons,” he added.
Israeli police opened Jerusalem’s gates to allow Islamic worshippers to enter through the newly erected metal detectors. Police said some worshippers refused to go through them and knelt to pray outside instead. But despite concerns that the new measures could slow movement and spark tensions, police said they appeared to be working fine and that 200 people had already passed through.
“We cannot allow for agents of murder, who desecrate the name of God, to drag us into a bloody war, and we will deal with a heavy hand against all the arms of terror, and its perpetrators,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
“The state of Israel will defend its sovereignty and its citizens with a strong hand, and will not allow anyone to provoke the region into a bloody war.”