Thousands of people attended on Monday the funeral of a South Africa-born young Israeli man killed the day before in a rare Palestinian gun attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The crowd of mourners, many of them young people and soldiers, gathered at Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery, where Eliyahu Kay was laid to rest.
The 25-year-old Kay was pronounced dead in a Jerusalem hospital on Sunday after being wounded in a gunfire attack carried out by a Palestinian member of the militant Islamist movement Hamas.
Another civilian and two police officers were injured, with the perpetrator shot dead by Israeli forces.
Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said the “premeditated attack” was carried out by a Hamas operative living in the Shuafat neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, occupied and annexed by Israel in 1967.
Hamas, who rule the Gaza Strip, identified the attacker as Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, congratulated him and hailed the “continuation” of the fight to “liberate” Jerusalem.
On Hamas’s Al-Quds TV channel, banners were screened in “tribute” to Abu Shkayhdam.
On Friday, Britain said it intended to follow the United States and European Union in placing an outright ban on Hamas as a terror group, saying it was not possible to distinguish between the Islamists’ political and military wings.
Kay was killed on his way to work as a guide at the Western Wall, the holiest place Jews are permitted to pray at.
Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites who employed Kay, described him as a “sweet, young man who had his whole life ahead of him” and who made a point of “greeting everyone warmly irrespective of their religion, faith, or origin.”
Attacks targeting Israeli security forces are common in Jerusalem’s Old City as well as in the occupied West Bank. They are often carried out by individual young Palestinian men in so-called lone-wolf attacks.
On Wednesday, Israeli security forces shot dead a 16-year-old assailant who stabbed and wounded two police officers in the Old City.